Hawick YM stripped of league title

Hawick YM have been hard to stop this season, but will now finish second.
Hawick YM have been hard to stop this season, but will now finish second.

Hawick YM have been hit with a 10-point deduction after the Scottish Rugby Union found they were in breach of rules on fielding ineligible players.

The governing body made its ruling last week after a small panel decided Hawick had broken league rule 6.6 (National Competition rules 2015/16, Reserve League) when fielding two players against Dundee Titans and Cartha Queens Park that had featured for Hawick RFC the previous weekend.

The punishment means the redskins forfeit their National Reserve Division 2 title to Currie but hold onto their automatic promotion place to the top division after finishing above third-placed GHA.

“After a long, hard season, this is not how anyone wants it to end,” said YM head coach, David Grant.

“It is an antiquated rule that needs changed. There is no team out there that has enough players to put together two full squads every week without some changes to both sets and not fall foul of this rule. Teams don’t have the player resources to avoid it. It is that simple.

“Squad rotation, injuries, rise and dip in form all come into play when picking teams. You cannot tell me every team in the top division hasn’t played a player in the second XV after he played for the firsts the week before. Of course they have. It’s impossible for teams to avoid it.”

The episode brings to a close a largely successful debut season for Hawick YM as Hawick RFC’s second XV.

Head coach Grant made promotion to the top reserve division, the minimum requirement for the Redskins, with anything else regarded as a bonus.

Promotion was achieved, and while the club initially stated that they would appeal over any ruling that stripped them of points or the title, the Hawick News understands no appeal will be lodged, with the club moving on in preparation for next season.

“The boys didn’t really celebrate when we won the title two weeks ago as this investigation was dangling over our heads, so after this decision was passed down there isn’t much lost,” added Grant.

“We might not have won the league title, but everyone knows we were the best team. We lost just once, the other time was when we couldn’t raise a team, and beat teams with 13 men in some occasions. It was clear to everyone that we were the top team.

“We knew there was a possibility of this happening so now that it has we move on and prepare for an exciting new season amongst the top second XV sides in the country.”