2003/2004: Scottish Premiership One



C. Shaw15A. Scott
W. Henry14R. Watson
R. Munday13R. West
S. Duffy12I. Leighton
R. Moffat11R. Jericevich
M. Rainey10J. Noonan
G. McKnight9S. O’Donnell
E. Milligan1C. Birchall
C. Docherty2S. MacKinnon
C. McFadyen3C. Hastie
S. Begley4I. Smith
R. Maxton5J. Eddie
N. McKenzie6E. Smith
S. Swindall7G. Inglis
M. Sitch8A. Plastow
S. Forrest16G. Blackburn
17 L. Hazelton
Rainey (4)PenNoonan (2)
Mr G. Davies (Fettesians / Lorettonians)
Hawks have come through September unbeaten and if winning while playing below their best is the sign of champions, then the Anniesland side can go into the winter with some degree of confidence. However they cannot afford to neglect the weaknesses apparent here. Creative centres and a dangerous back five they have, but in this game they were unable to get them sparking.
Mike Rainey of last year’s Ireland Under-21 side was given his second successive run in the team. But on this evidence he was disappointing, failing to get the back line going, repeatedly missing touch from hand and showing signs of nerves in the closing stages of the match. GHA by contrast are new boys to the top flight and still looking for that first win. Though again they picked up a deserved consolation point. Player coach Andy Plastow showed he had lost none of the class he once displayed for Hawks, and there were clever contributions from full back Andy Scott and No.10 James Noonan.
As many as eight of the GHA side had once been Hawks players, so it should perhaps come as no surprise that the early play went the visitors’ way, with Hawks looking strangely sluggish. In eight minutes they took the lead with a try from Scott, who sliced through in the centre from twenty metres and touched down under the post for Noonan to convert. Two minutes later Rainey pulled back a penalty but Hawks remained well under par, with even Steve Swindall twice failing to retain possession. It was no surprise then when GHA pulled away with a Noonan penalty following a cynical block by Neil McKenzie on Noonan. As half time approached Plastow thought he had scored but referee Greg Davies ruled against before awarding a penalty which Noonan slipped home. In stoppage time, however, the Hawks got their collective act together and Rainey cut the visitors’ half time lead to 13-6.
Hawks came out determined to shove the ball up their jumper in the second half and soon cut the lead with Rainey’s third penalty of the match. In the fiftieth minute their pressure paid off, with centre Ricky Munday managing to step inside his man and race over. Rainey converted and soon added a penalty. It was then expected that Hawks would pull away but they lost their impetus. And with Noonan kicking with guile and Rainey dropping passes, the Hawks support had to endure a very nervous finale.
GHA coach David Wilson – another with a Hawks’ pedigree – was surprisingly upbeat. He said: “Hawks’ ability to retain possession stifled us, but Ross West got through his first game after a big knee operation and he will contribute a lot in matches to come.”

Source: The Scotsman, Sunday 28th September 2003

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