Derby demolition of Kelso gets Hawick back to winning ways in rugby’s Scottish Premiership
That return to winning ways takes them to within two points of the play-off places in rugby’s Scottish Premiership as they look to defend the title they secured, for the first time in over 20 years, in March.
Head coach Matty Douglas’s Greens are now on nine points from three fixtures, two shy of fourth-placed Marr and six behind table-topping Currie Chieftains, ahead of a trip to third-placed Edinburgh Academical, beaten 24-18 at Heriot’s Blues at the weekend, this coming Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm.
Kelso, on five points, are third from bottom of the table after three rounds and yet to win a game, having drawn twice prior to Saturday’s loss, a Border League double-header.
They’re at home at Poynder Park this Saturday to sixth-placed Glasgow Hawks, edged out 35-30 at home to Marr at the weekend, with kick-off also at 3pm.
Hawick captain Shawn Muir was heartened to see his side take their 24-5 thumping at Marr the Saturday before last, ending a 26-game unbeaten run stretching back to April 2022, as a wake-up call as they look to get their title defence back on track.
“We put a big emphasis on starting fast and really stamping our authority on the game,” he told Borders Rugby TV afterwards.
“I thought the boys were outstanding from zero minutes to 80. It was a brilliant performance.”
Reflecting on their loss on the road at Troon a week previously, he said: “We got a jolt last week.
“We saw that we’re not invincible, just in case anyone thought we were after not losing last season.
“We got our eyes opened last week that this league is tough and we need to be on it every single week.”
Kelso player-coach Bruce McNeil says he’s hoping his side will take Saturday’s defeat as a wake-up call in the same way that their hosts had ahead of it, warning that adjusting to Scottish club rugby’s top flight after their promotion earlier this year won’t be easy.
“We knew that was coming,” said the former Hawick captain.
"We were under no illusions at all about what was going to come at us today. We just kind of went into our shells and realised that this league’s not to be played with, and we know that if we’re not on it, that can happen every single week.
“We’ve got to keep looking forward and we’ve got to look at that game and make sure that that does not happen again and learn from our mistakes, and there were plenty to learn from.”
“The good thing about this bunch is that they’re resilient. We’ve come a long way, so we know what needs to be done and we know we have to be better.”
Touching down for Hawick, reduced to 14 men by a 72nd-minute red card for replacement Gary Lowrie for a tip-tackle on McNeil, were Fraser and Calum Renwick, Andrew Mitchell, skipper Muir, Jae Linton, Kyle Brunton and Kirk Ford with a hat-trick, with Ford adding eight conversions.
McNeil scored the visitors’ only try of the afternoon, converted by Dwain Patterson.