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West of Scotland 29 - 13 Glasgow Hawks

West of Scotland 29 - 13 Glasgow Hawks: New boys hoodwink Hawks

SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY REPORTS


By Iain Morrison at Burnbrae
WEST of Scotland celebrated their return to Premier One with a morale-boosting victory over their cross-town rivals Hawks and retained the Gordon Brown Memorial Cup in the process.
Moreover, they did so in some style, scoring four tries to two as the three-time champions Hawks were reduced to something approaching a rabble by the final whistle. West had never before beaten Hawks in a competitive fixture... they have now.
The truth is, we have some good players," said victorious coach John Beattie. "I felt a bit for Hawks at the end because they have a very young side and while we were beginning to blow at the end of the match their young guys kept going."

It was a scrappy affair with both sides playing at a frantic pace which, combined with the early season rust, led to a host of handling errors. West fullback Peter Horne was the star of the show, scoring one try, creating another and prompting his coach to suggest that he could go "all the way". Up front, No.8 Graham Fisken made huge inroads with the ball in hand even if his handling was little better than anyone else's .

The home team dominated the first half to an absurd degree albeit Hawks were first out of the traps with a penalty in the first minute of the match. After that strike the visitors were rarely in West's half of the field never mind getting into the danger zone.

Only after going 19 points behind at the start of the second half did Hawks up the ante and actually dominate long periods. Even when under the cosh West still butchered a golden opportunity to increase their lead. Full-back Horne stepped out of the defensive line to make the interception but, after the breakout, winger Andrew Park spilled the scoring pass, and not for the only time in the match.

The only problem for West was converting their ample possession into points because after 30 minutes the home team held on to a precarious 5-3 lead, Horne's seventh-minute try giving them a lead they never relinquished.

Horne failed to convert his own score and then fluffed a penalty opportunity not long after and the crowd were getting understandably agitated when he eventually added to West's tally with a 34th-minute penalty.

Another two tries, one either side of half time, meant that the scoreboard went some way towards reflecting the balance of play. Firstly Michael Sim picked a perfect angle off a scrum, the centre was tap-tackled but still managed to pop the ball to the supporting Alex Fisken and the scrum-half was under the posts.

If the result was still in doubt at the break, a try from West's fly-half Jamie Hunter early in the second half went a long way towards making the game safe. This time it was replacement breakaway Iain Keith who did the damage with a barnstorming run that took him to Hawks try line and it was a simple matter for Hunter to scoot over from close range.

Hawks then enjoyed their best period of the match with Craig Grossman looking menacing every time the diminutive full-back got his hands on the ball but while they ran through the phases well enough, Hawks never looked like scoring until the final six minutes of the match. Two tries in two minutes from Andy Jackson and Paddy Bower lent the Hawks' score a respectability that it scarcely deserved.

But even before they'd grabbed their first try, Hawks had already conceded the bonus point score to West after Alex Fisken and Horne combined to send flanker Roddy Grant over. The day belonged exclusively to the Premiership new boys.

West of Scotland: P Horne, A Park, R Kerr (I Keith 40 min), M Sim, L Menzies; J Hunter (R Kerr 65 ), A Fisken; C Hastie, G Bulloch (R Wilson 65 min), D McKenna, R Gray, G Perrett (J Vos 45 ), R Harley (G Perrett 45 ), R Grant, G Fisken.

Glasgow Hawks: C Gossman, S Gordon (P Bower 65 ), I Noble, S Duffy (R Hair 55 ), S Murray; M Rainey, P Bower (P Jerichevich 25 ); G Strain (G MacFadyen 40 ), N Nyemba (J Maclay 40 ), G Mories, A Kelly, N Campbell, A Kirkland (N Cadell 40), A Jackson, G Harkness.

Scorers: West Tries: Horne, A Fisken, Hunter, Grant. Conv: Horne (3). Pen: Horne. Hawks Tries: Jackson, Bower. Pen: Noble.




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