Peebles 5

Hawick 58

Neil Hobson at The Gytes

ANY slim hopes Peebles had of matching a team two divisions above them were quickly dashed on Friday evening.

The harsh reality for The Gytes club was that Hawick exist on a different level in rugby, and although George Graham’s side languish in the lower reaches of the BT Premiership, they’re still a Premiership club, as this Booker Border League clash proved.

Peebles will be disappointed at their lacklustre defending, whilst Hawick will probably regret their inability to add a few more conversions - which was the only blight on an otherwise faultless evening.

Barely five minutes had registered on the referee’s watch before Lewis Ferguson crashed over for the first try of the night, with Ali Weir’s following conversion harmlessly sailing past the post.

Hawick captain Bruce McNeil, from a well-worked line-out, then hoovered up the ball before recording a second try, with Dalton Redpath following up soon after for the third – Weir’s successful conversion proving to be a case of third time lucky.

With 20 minutes gone Hawick were in the driving seat at 0-17.

And it was going to take Houdini levels of escapology for Peebles to claw something back at this stage.

In truth the only magic on the field was coming from the visitors, turning on the style at the Gytes in a way which few teams have against Drew Moore’s side this season.

Graham’s side raked in the lion’s share of possession, with Peebles firmly locked out of their half as a result of such fearsome attacking prowess.

Redpath showed some delightful footwork to evade his pursuers on the right, twisting and turning before Roddy Guiney arrived on the scene to shut their operation down with a meaty tackle.

Hawick moved with ferocity, maintaining a perfect balance of possession and tempo that allowed them to ease into a murderous rhythm, with Fraser Renwick and Ross Combe adding three more tries to an ever-growing mountain.

Ali Weir endured a middling night on conversion duties, missing two before scoring on the back of a Renwick try to make it 0-34 going into half-time.

Peebles emerged for the next 40 minutes with greater steel, but still unable to plug the gaps.

William Napier made a break for it in midfield, with Hawick’s bouncer duo of Muir and Cottrel throwing him back into his own half.

Hawick’s tries continued with two from Darrin Robson along with touch downs from Ruaridh MacLeod and Bruce McNeil - with two Ali Weir conversions adding to the tally

Peebles pulled a score back on 71 minutes, with Ryan Stewart crashing over – Greg Raeburn missing the conversion to make it 5-58 at full-time.

It was the final act in a tough night for Peebles, but a joyful one for Hawick.

Peebles: Napier, Stewart, Menzies, R Brown, W Brown, Patskocimas, Ellison, Guiney, Johnstone, D Anderson, King, C Anderson, Dougie Voas, Stoddart, Clinch Replacements: Donald Voas, Jeffrey, Scott, Britton, McDonald, David Anderson, Raeburn

Hawick: McNeil, Graham, Baillie, Suddon, Redpath, MacLeod, Renwick, Muir, Cottrell, Armstrong, Ferguson, Buckley, Davies, Wooley, Weir

Subs: Carryer, Johnstone, Linton, M Renwick, Welsh, Robson, Combe