Heartbreak for Hawks as drawn tie triggers ‘rule’
League/cup double still on for Heriot’s after ‘away’ victory
GLASGOW Hawks’ hopes of playing in the final of the Scottish Cup at BT Murrayfield were blown stratospherically high not by the play of their semifinal opponents, Heriots, but by a wretched rule to decide the winners of a drawn match.
The rule in question states that in the event of no decisive result being achieved at the end of extra time it is the ‘away’ team that goes through. And in a bureaucratic stroke Glasgow Hawks were out of the Scottish Cup.
Neither of the coaching teams seemed aware of the regulation and indeed the referee Lloyd Linton and his two assistants had to seek clarification before declaring the winners.
It was a cruel way for Hawks to bow out of the competition and in many ways it was equally unsatisfactory for the victors. “I genuinely feel sorry for Hawks. They put in a tremendous effort over one hundred minutes of rugby. I’m gutted for them in the sense they haven’t lost the game.” said the Heriot’s head coach, Phil Smith, adding : “It was a scrappy game but we’ve played very little hard rugby in the past few weeks.”
The match threatened to be a dreadful deja vu for Smith, whose Heriot’s side lost to Hawick at a barely playable Mansfield Park in last year’s semi-final after having an 80th minute ‘try’ disallowed.
Twelve months on, there seemed to be restorative justice for Heriot’s when at the same point in the game on Saturday, the Goldenacre side scored a matchsaving try after a defensive error by Hawks.
Heriot’s had brought on their Scotland under-20 scrum half, Hugh Fraser, who made a telling contribution with a teasing kick that sent the ball bobbling close to the touchline and towards the corner. Hawks’ replacement full back Pierre Mounal appeared to have control of the situation but his failure to kick the ball into touch allowed the fast approaching Charlie Simpson to score in the corner and level the points tally at 10-10.
Earlier Heriot’s had opened the scoring with a try by flanker Ian Wilson from a driving maul, countered in the second half by the one genuine piece of rugby that gave Hawks wing Robert Beattie a score on the overlap. Then from another driving maul Finlay Gillies put Hawks into the lead only for Simpson to spoil the party on the stroke of full time .
The game, played in wet and windy conditions at Old Anniesland and which saw four players, two on each side, sent to the bin, could have been settled by goal kicking but on the day both Jack Steele for Hawks and John Semple for Heriot’s could not hit the target. Most palpable was Semple’s miscued kick in the second period of extra time, which , had it been successful, would have given Heriot’s victory without resort to arcane rules.
For Hawks it was a dismal end to their fifteens season but for Heriot’s, who face Currie on Saturday in the league semi-final play-off at Malleny Park, there is now the dream of a league/ cup double Scorers: Glasgow Hawks: Tries – R Beattie, Gillies. Heriot’s: Tries – Wilson, Simpson
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