Ruthless Hawick lifted their first Booker Border League crown in nearly a decade with a masterful performance, blitzing Peebles by 13 tries to one at Mansfield Park on Friday night.
Not since 2006 had the Greens achieved success on the Border League circuit, but first-half scores from Ross Graham, Nick McLennan (2), Neil Renwick (2), Sean Goodfellow, Matty Douglas, Nick Mactaggart and Wullie Blacklock ended any doubt of their eventual title triumph.
Blacklock’s second began the second-half before John Coutts, Bruce McNeil and Gary Johnstone completed the scoring.
Outclassed Peebles responded with a late touchdown from Scott McCormick.
“Obviously, really pleased, it’s been a long wait to get here and get our name back on the trophy,” said Greens skipper Rory Hutton.
“Over the course of the campaign, there has been some close games, against Gala and Melrose, but we really stuck in and I’m proud of the boys for what we’ve managed to achieve. I think we fully deserved to lift the trophy at the end of a long tournament.”
Peebles, sixth in National One, struggled almost from the opening kick-off, withstanding a rampant Teri squad who controlled the pitch like it was a training session for as long as they could, eventually buckling when hooker Graham spotted a gap at the breakdown and raced home untouched.
Greg Raeburn kicked a penalty for Peebles moments later, but prop McLennan soon doubled the Greens’ lead, using his considerable frame to bulldoze his way over the line from close range.
The gulf between the two sides was considerable, Hawick’s front eight providing the bedrock for the victory with a dominating show at the breakdown and in the collisions, while their back line’s range of trickery and flair was too much for the visitors.
Further touchdowns from Goodfellow, Douglas, Mactaggart, Blacklock, McLennan and a brace from Renwick followed, with the winger adding five conversions, to complete the first-half rout.
By half-time, the ledger read 55-3 in Hawick’s favour, effectively ending the tie as a competitive contest, but there was no let-up for Peebles. A second touchdown from Blacklock was followed by Coutts and McNeil, all converted by Renwick, to extended Hawick’s lead to 76-3.
The Robbie Dyes drifted slightly in the closing stages, allowing McCormick to dot down for Peebles, but the Greens had the final say, Johnstone racing home to complete the scoring and confirm Hawick’s first piece of silverware since 2006.