Greens up for cup all the more after Border League exit, says rugby director John Hogg

Hawick beating Jed-Forest 26-7 at home in rugby's Tennent's Premiership in November (Pic: Malcolm Grant)Hawick beating Jed-Forest 26-7 at home in rugby's Tennent's Premiership in November (Pic: Malcolm Grant)
Hawick beating Jed-Forest 26-7 at home in rugby's Tennent's Premiership in November (Pic: Malcolm Grant)
Hawick director of rugby John Hogg says the Greens are looking forward to the return of the sport’s Scottish Cup after two years off all the more because it begins for them with a Borders derby.

The cup, last contested in 2019, returns at the start of next month and its first round – to be played on Saturday, February 4 – will see Hawick hosting Tennent’s Premiership rivals Jed-Forest, with kick-off at 1.30pm.

That tie is one of two featuring Borders sides that day, the other, also at 1.30pm, being a home match for Tennent’s National League Division 1’s Gala versus Glasgow Hawks.

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The winners of the derby will be away to Edinburgh Academical in round two on Saturday, March 25, and Dundee will host either Gala or Hawks, both those ties kicking off at 3pm.

Melrose, Selkirk and Kelso enter the competition at its second-round stage – away to Currie Chieftains, at home to Musselburgh or Highland and hosting Biggar or Heriot’s Blues respectively, all at 3pm too.

The cup offers Hawick their last prospect of derbies at XVs this season as they won’t get the chance to defend the Border League title they won against Kelso in April, having been beaten to top spot in their pool by Selkirk, so that’s an extra reason to look forward to it, according to Hogg.

They go into their first-round tie with the form-book on their side, having beaten their Jedburgh neighbours twice in the league, 26-7 at home in November and 22-12 away in September.

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They’re also undefeated in the league against Selkirk, having drawn 20-20 with them at home in August – the only game they’ve not won so far this season – and edged them out 17-8 away in October.

“The only disappointing result we’ve really had was our first game against Selkirk, but it was good to get three wins out of four. I was quite happy with that,” said Hogg.

“It’s nice to win Borders derbies because it gives you bragging rights and there’s always great banter.”

Hogg says he’s sorry his team won’t get the chance to defend their Border League title, having been edged out by six points to seven in the contest’s pool A by the Souters, setting up a final against either Kelso or Melrose on a date yet to be fixed.

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“We were disappointed by that,” he said. “The thing is that at Mansfield we want to win everything, like any club, and the way it worked out, it was disappointing because we could have done it.

“We were disappointed, but it’s no use pondering things that could have happened. We just need to make things happen going forward instead.”

Hawick are the Borders’ joint second most successful side in the Scottish Cup, having won it twice, like Gala. Melrose are the joint most successful team nationwide with four wins.

Hawick, Jed and Selkirk resume their league campaigns away this coming Saturday after having been out of action since the start of December – at Marr, Heriot’s Blues and Glasgow Hutchesons’ Aloysians respectively, all 2pm kick-offs.

Hawick enter 2023 on top of the table after 13 games, on 57 points, with Selkirk fourth on 39 and Jed eighth on 23.