It may be a cliché, but Friday night’s National League match at Old Anniesland was truly one of two halves.
Going into the match sitting second in the table but with games in hand were the high flying Hawks. With home field advantage and an eye on the top, the Hawks were very much billed as favourites against the visitors Hamilton. Sitting third from bottom and no games in hand, Hamilton had less to gain but certainly more to lose from the fixture.
The first half was as even as the 13-13 score line suggests. With both teams out for the win play was open and the midfield was getting plenty of ball on both sides. Despite the free flow of the game, mistakes were rife. It took until 30 minutes for there to be a try, with the Hawks (a man down at the time) showing some good back-three play to send full back Mike Adamson over the white-wash. The Hawks had no time to celebrate, Hamilton came right back at them, utilising a very effective kicking game through Owen McLeish. Hamilton gained good yards through the boot and quickly found themselves with a try from winger David Lopez. The try and conversion put Hamilton in the lead after 38 minutes. The half finished with a yellow card being shown to Hamilton’s Craig Inglis and Hawks scoring the penalty to draw level.
The second half was a different story altogether. Hawks took full advantage of the extra man and scored three tries in the first 10 minutes. Hawks’ fleet footed winger, James Gormley, showed great skill and awareness to set up one and score another in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Hawks’ scrum also showed its quality by winning a penalty try from a 5 metre scrum.
Hamilton’s night didn’t get any better after that either. Hawks began to play with real confidence and Hamilton had no response to it. With the game all but secure, Hawks let the flair come out. A well placed cross-field kick set James Gormley up for his second of the match. The Hawks took advantage of another strong scrum to score a further try.
After conceding five tries in the first 15 minutes of the second half, Hamilton finally had a response. With their first real pressure of the second half, Hamilton’s Craig Inglis went over for what was, by this point, nothing more than a conciliation.
Despite the try, Hawks still had the momentum. Hawks went on to score three more tries, including one from hooker Jack MacFarlane. MacFarlane showed quick feet and excellent turning to get out of heavy traffic and sprint for a well deserved try.
Hamilton had one last try left in them in the final minutes but the game was already well out of reach. It finished 67-27 to the Hawks who showed stamina and cutting-edge to win a vital game.