Whistle blows on Borders amateur season

Football clubs in the Borders Amateur Association have voted to bring the 2019-20 season to an end.

By Ralph Mellon
Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 4:45 pm
Hawick Waverley, seen here after winning the Billy Pringle Memorial Cup in 2018, have been declared Border Amateur FA Division 'A' champions (archive image by Bill McBurnie)
Hawick Waverley, seen here after winning the Billy Pringle Memorial Cup in 2018, have been declared Border Amateur FA Division 'A' champions (archive image by Bill McBurnie)

The majority expressed a preference for the remainder of the fixtures to be settled on an average points won basis, similar to their counterparts in the junior, senior, semi-pro and professional game, with promotion and relegation also decided.

A halt was called in mid-March to SFA-sanctioned football across the country, at the same time as many other sports around Britain, because of the growing threat of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

The votes meant the league campaign officially finished with Hawick Waverley the champions once again in Division ‘A’, with Langlee in second place and Jed Legion relegated.

Melrose AFC will be stepping up to Division 'B' when amateur football resumes (picture by Linda Cruikshank)

Promoted from Division ‘B’ were Tweedmouth Harrow, as winners, and Duns, in second place, with Coldstream Amateurs and Berwick Colts taking the drop.

Melrose were promoted as winners of Division ‘C’, along with Earlston Rhymers.

All the first-placed clubs were delighted to finish at the top of the pack – but each said it was not the way they would have liked to have been crowned champions.

Hawick Waverley posted on their Facebook page: “Not how the club wanted the season to end but the majority vote showed this was the fairest way to bring things to a close, with very little prospect of any football in the coming months.

“Congratulations to Tweedmouth Harrow and Melrose on winning their respective leagues, and also Duns and Earlston on gaining promotion.

“Hopefully, we will be back playing football after the summer and we can get back to the game we all love being involved in. In the meantime, we hope you all stay healthy.”

It had been announced recently that Mick Hope would be stepping down as Waverley manager and Taylor Hope would be taking over from season 2020-21.

Mick had intimated last summer that this would be his last season and being able to promote from within was always the club’s preferred choice.

Taylor had shown a keen interest to take over while continuing to play – but he is aware Mick will be a hard act to follow, having presided over the club’s most successful period with 10 trophies in the last four seasons.

“With Mick finishing as manager – but not with the club, hopefully – we will have a get together when time and circumstances allow and give him the send-off he very much deserves,” added Hawick Waverley.

Melrose celebrated a fine achievement in their short existence with a Facebook statement which said: “Melrose was formed by a group of lads in the season of 2013-14. They have adapted to several coaches and management changes throughout this time. And, in season 2019-20, Steven Shields stepped forward to manage the team.

“He led the boys the best way he saw fit and built a team who gave him everything he could ask for. This newly-formed team, with captain Colin Turnbull and vice-captain Ashley Langford, went out game after game this season and showed he had put all his hard work to the best use.

“Before the season was brought to an abrupt halt with COVID-19, Melrose were sitting top of the league with 46 points, 15 points clear, with a record of 15 wins, one draw and one loss, having scored 68 goals in 17 games.

Steven said: “I am so proud of the boys. I loved every minute of the season, coaching and managing them, and showing them they really did deserve this.”

Club chairman Jamie Bertram expressed thanks to the committee, the players and the manager, before adding, very sportingly: “Lastly, I’d like to pass on our commiserations to Earlston Ryhmers, who were the only other contenders for the league when it finished.

“This was not the way we’d hoped to win the league. We look forward to playing them again next season in the ‘B’ league.”