Hawick out of Tennent's Premiership play-offs but now setting sights on 50th Border League title

Hawick are now setting their sights on notching up a half-century of Border League titles to secure their second piece of silverware of the season after missing out on a Tennent’s Premiership play-off final place.

By Darin Hutson
Monday, 28th March 2022, 4:07 pm
Updated Monday, 28th March 2022, 6:12 pm
Hawick scrum-half Gareth Welsh considers his options as the Greens' pack drive forward (Photo: Malcolm Grant)
Hawick scrum-half Gareth Welsh considers his options as the Greens' pack drive forward (Photo: Malcolm Grant)

That derby showdown against Kelso for the oldest honour of its kind in rugby will take place at the Greens’ Mansfield Park home ground on Wednesday, April 13, with kick-off at 7.30pm.

Hawick go into it as far and away the most successful side in the 121-year history of the competition, with 49 Border League titles to their name.

That’s 44 more than their Tennent’s National League Division 1 opposition next month and 29 more than the second-most succesful team ever in the regional league, Melrose, but head coach Matty Douglas is all too aware that it’ll be the forthcoming 80 minutes on the pitch that count rather than his side’s track record over the preceding century and a fifth.

Hawick captain Matt Carryer on the ball against Marr in Troon (Photo: Malcolm Grant)

“We’ve already got some silverware, the Bill McLaren Shield, and that’s a big thing for us, and the Border League is now the next challenge,” said Douglas.

“We’re taking it very seriously but we know we’ll have to be at the top of our game to come away with the title.

“We know Kelso well – they’ve got a few Hawick boys in their side, including Bruce McNeil as coach – and they’re a good team.

“Bruce has got them playing some good rugby, probably the best they’ve played for years, but we’ve got to be targeting it as a win.”

Hawick props Shawn Muir and Tom Hope halting a Marr attack on Saturday (Photo: Malcolm Grant)

Hawick’s hopes of challenging Currie Chieftains for this year’s premiership title on Saturday were ended by their 17-10 play-off semi-final defeat away to Marr at the weekend, but Douglas, though disappointed, says he’s nevertheless proud of his youthful side for finishing third in the table.

“I’m just gutted, to be fair, but that’s rugby,” he said.

“I’m massively proud of our players, though. We’ve had a good season.

“We’ve beaten all the top teams at home. It’s just our away form that let us down.

“I think getting to the play-offs was an achievement in itself, and Marr are a good side. It was maybe just their experience that made the difference and they’ve got really good home support.

“We’re two closely-matched sides. Before Saturday, we’d beaten them at home and they’d beaten us at theirs.”

Stuart Graham touched down Hawick’s only try of the game, with Kirk Ford adding a conversion and penalty.

Their South Ayrshire hosts’ try-scorers were Scott Bickerstaff and Ben Johnston, with Colin Sturgeon adding two conversions and a penalty.