Biggar proving best for Deke

IT’S HARD being a coach, particularly a head coach of a top club, writes Stuart Cameron.

It’s one big roller-coaster ride from start to finish. Yes, the highs can be incredibly addictive and the rewards deeply satisfying, but the flip side is that when it all goes horribly wrong, it can be a nightmare.

Deke Armstrong was in charge of Hawick for the first part of this season, but resigned following a series of poor results. With Biggar coach Gary Parker emigrating to Australia in January, Armstrong was asked to look after the side to the end of the season and, having been at the club before, felt the opportunity to take care of unfinished business was too tempting to turn down.

Speaking candidly about his new role this week, Armstrong admitted that it didn’t take him long to get back into coaching again, despite the obvious pressures.

“Biggar is a different challenge and a different kind of pressure,” he told us.

“They don’t have the history or the expectation of Hawick and I can walk away from the club on Saturday and think my own thoughts in my own time at home before returning for training on Tuesday.

“When I was at Hawick I would walk down the street or go the pub and everybody would have their say, and that’s understandable because Hawick’s a proud club and everyone wants them to be at the top.

“I’ve been back to see them play and there’s no animosity. We sat down after I’d resigned and had a chat, and it was the best outcome for me and the club. I love Hawick and I really believe the boys will stay in Premier One.

“As for Biggar I’ll take them through to the end of the season and I or they will make a decision about what happens after that.”

This weekend Armstrong’s former club Hawick have a chance to rest and regroup following their disappointing RBS Cup defeat to Kelso last week. Over at the Greenyards Melrose will be looking to get their Cup/Border League campaign under way when the Tweedsiders pay a visit, while Selkirk and Gala go head-to-head at Philiphaugh in a cup game only.

Also on Saturday, Gala YM and Hawick Harlequins clash on the Netherdale pitches in the Borders Regional Bowl final. The winners of this game will progress to the national knockout stages of the competition in March.