Hawick round off unbeaten rugby season with Scottish cup victory versus Marr to do double
Tries by Ronan McKean, Fraser Renwick and Kirk Ford against Marr, with Ford converting two and also kicking three penalties, secured a third piece of silverware in the space of a year for head coach Matty Douglas’s Greens, following on from their premiership title and last April’s 18-14 Border League final victory against Kelso.
It also extended their current unbeaten run to 25 games and just short of 13 months, having won 19 league and play-off fixtures and four cup matches since then, with only one draw in the league, 20-20 at home to Selkirk in August, denying them a season-long victory parade.
Their last loss was by 17-10 in a premiership play-off semi-final at Marr at the end of March last year but they’ve beaten the Troon side home and away in the league since then – by 20-3 in October and 29-10 in January respectively, as well as by 18-6 in Hawick in this year’s play-off semis – and again, by 31-13, in Saturday’s cup final at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium, though they had to fight back from being 6-3 down at half-time to come up trumps.
Touching down for their South Ayrshire opposition was Conor Bickerstaff, with Colin Sturgeon adding a conversion and two penalties.
Douglas, 28, was delighted by the half-time turnaround that won a third Scottish cup for Hawick, following their previous victories in 1996 and 2002, and saw them retain the Bill McLaren Shield for the 24th time, telling Borders Rugby TV: “I’m immensely proud of the players.
“We had to dig deep, but we just stuck to our structure and brought a bit of energy to what we were doing.
“The players knew they had more to give, and that was the pleasing thing. In the first half, to be brutally honest, we never dealt a blow and we went in three points down.
“We had a positive chat at half-time and the players answered the questions we put to them as coaches, and what a second half and what an occasion for the club.
“Credit to Marr, they had a game-plan – high balls kicked down to us in the back-field, but our big chat at half-time was about individual errors.
“We felt that we’d probably soaked up quite a lot of Marr pressure, though, and it was up to us to go and take it to them and we sure did that.”
Reflecting on his side’s unbeaten quarter-century of games, Douglas added: “It’s just not sunk in, to be honest.
“I never look at those sort of things. I just go week after week. We just look at the game the week after and we never look at the Bill McLaren Shield in training or in terms of unbeaten runs. Those just come along with hard work.
“This squad of players, what an amazing season they’ve had. I’m in a lucky position to be able to coach them and I’ve got a great coaching team with Lewis Bertram and Graham Hogg and everybody in the back-room staff.
“It’s just been a great season, and where do we go from here now? We’re planning for next season now.
“Massive plaudits to the players – they’ve shown character all season and to go 24 games unbeaten this season is an amazing achievement.”