Squad shortage shelves Border Cup clash

Stuart Graham in action for injury-hit Hawick (picture by John Devlin)
Stuart Graham in action for injury-hit Hawick (picture by John Devlin)

Hawick breathed a sigh of relief after tomorrow (Friday) night’s Border League clash with Selkirk was psotponed.

The call-off will give the injury depleted Greens some much-needed rest ahead of their BT Premiership relegation run-in.

A lack of a front-row, combined with a number of players missing through injury or on Scotland Under-20 duty, meant the MAnsfield Park men were struggling to pull enough fit players together for the game.

Selkirk mercifully agreed yesterday to postpone the fixture, with a view to re-scheduling at a later undecided date, while the Souters are set to play a development game at Peebles instead.

Hawick assistant coach Scott MacLeod had earlier urged caution ahead of the contest against the National Division One side after a gruelling BT Cup match against Gala had further depleted the Greens’ already thin squad.

“It’s a tough game to think about, as we are already down a number of players,” MacLeod said before the postponement.

“We lost another bunch on Saturday against Gala, which wasn’t ideal. We basically are down too many guys right now and cannot afford to lose any more.

“We lost Callum Macintosh and Matt Landles in the front row (against Gala), which was already a trouble spot for us, so looking at Friday night, we honestly couldn’t afford to lose any more to injuries, otherwise we’re in serious trouble the rest of the way.”

MacLeod added: “We basically don’t have the depth right now to be playing every weekend and, with such important games coming up, Friday was a very tough game to be planning for.”

The Newcastle Falcons lock, in his second year as assistant to head coach Nikki Walker, admitted risking players against a tough Border outfit like Selkirk, with a number of bodies missing, was going to be difficult to navigate with a relegation showdown looming.

“Guys like Bruce McNeil and Stuart Graham would be playing to prove their fitness but I’d be gutted if they were to pick up an injury and be out against Gala,” said MacLeod.

“Any time you play for Hawick, it’s important – but some games are a bit more important than others. The Gala game next weekend is huge, so having everyone fit and ready is key.”