Defending Scottish Premiership champions Hawick get new rugby season off to winning start against Glasgow Hawks

​Last season might be a hard act to follow for Hawick after winning rugby’s Scottish cup and premiership for the first time for over 20 years but they look set to give it a go after getting off to an even better start than last time round.
Captain Shawn Muir in possession for Hawick against Glasgow Hawks at home at Mansfield Park on Saturday (Photo: Malcolm Grant)Captain Shawn Muir in possession for Hawick against Glasgow Hawks at home at Mansfield Park on Saturday (Photo: Malcolm Grant)
Captain Shawn Muir in possession for Hawick against Glasgow Hawks at home at Mansfield Park on Saturday (Photo: Malcolm Grant)

​This time last year, the Greens had to make do with a 20-20 draw at home to Borders rivals Selkirk to kick off their 2022/23 league campaign, but Saturday saw them get off to a winning start hosting Glasgow Hawks at Mansfield Park, stretching their current unbeaten run to 26 games, all of them wins bar that stalemate against the Souters.

The only disappointment for head coach Matty Douglas’s defending champions was having a controversial refereeing decision chalk off an apparent bonus-point try by Jae Linton but the hosts, 13-0 up at half-time, were happy to have got off and running with four points added to their account.

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Captain Shawn Muir scored two of Hawick’s three tries and returning centre Lee Armstrong, making a comeback after four years out of the game, got their other, with Kirk Ford converting all three and also kicking two penalties.

Centre Lee Armstrong in action for Hawick for the first time since 2019 against Glasgow Hawks at home at Mansfield Park on Saturday (Photo: Malcolm Grant)Centre Lee Armstrong in action for Hawick for the first time since 2019 against Glasgow Hawks at home at Mansfield Park on Saturday (Photo: Malcolm Grant)
Centre Lee Armstrong in action for Hawick for the first time since 2019 against Glasgow Hawks at home at Mansfield Park on Saturday (Photo: Malcolm Grant)

“It was a good start, a win, and that’s all you can really ask for,” Armstrong told Borders Rugby TV afterwards.

“We’ll push on from here and set our stall out.

“I’m kind of gutted that we didn’t come away with a bonus point, but there was good stuff there and we can push on for next week now.

“The boys did unbelievably well last season, so we’ll be trying to replicate that this season, but we’ll take each game as it comes.

Andrew Mitchell on the ball for Hawick during their 27-12 win at home at Mansfield Park to Glasgow Hawks on Saturday (Photo: Malcolm Grant)Andrew Mitchell on the ball for Hawick during their 27-12 win at home at Mansfield Park to Glasgow Hawks on Saturday (Photo: Malcolm Grant)
Andrew Mitchell on the ball for Hawick during their 27-12 win at home at Mansfield Park to Glasgow Hawks on Saturday (Photo: Malcolm Grant)
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“There’s just a big buzz about the place and it’s the club’s 150th anniversary too.

“Some of our attack was really good, but there were inaccuracies in some of our play, so we’ll need to sharpen them up. It just a case of getting our communications right and connecting with other boys inside and outside.”

The 33-year-old, a former club XV international, added that it felt good to be back in action, saying: “It’s been four years since I last played in the league so I’ve got a wee bit of buzz back and I’m really enjoying it. They’re a great group of boys.”

Touching down for the Glaswegians, the last team to beat the Greens at Mansfield Park back in 2019, were James Pinkerton and Kyle Shanahan, with Liam Brims converting the former’s try.

Calum Renwick on the ball for Hawick versus Glasgow Hawks at home at Mansfield Park on Saturday (Photo: Malcolm Grant)Calum Renwick on the ball for Hawick versus Glasgow Hawks at home at Mansfield Park on Saturday (Photo: Malcolm Grant)
Calum Renwick on the ball for Hawick versus Glasgow Hawks at home at Mansfield Park on Saturday (Photo: Malcolm Grant)
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Next up for Hawick is a trip to South Ayrshire this coming Saturday to play Troon, beaten 29-26 at Heriot’s Blues at the weekend.

The Greens go into that game, with a 3pm kick-off, on the back of four victories against the Troon outfit last season, twice in the league, by 20-3 at home last October and 29-10 away in January; in a semi-final play-off, by 18-6 at home in March; and in May’s Scottish cup final at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium, by 31-13.

Marr were the last team to beat them, however, by 17-10 in a premiership play-off semi-final on the coast at the end of March last year.

The Borderers have got a couple of injury worries ahead of this weekend’s second fixture card of the new campaign, Shaun Fairnbairn and Charlie Welsh having both had to go off on Saturday, with brothers Hughie and Bailey Donaldson respectively replacing them.