Hawick were happy to have last weekend’s free-entry friendly with Gala, to keep the match action going ahead of tomorrow’s (Saturday) return to the league programme.
The side is at Mansfield Park tomorrow to resume the league quest against Heriot’s – and is returning with some confidence.
“We’re looking forward to Heriot’s,” said head coach George Graham. “They are a very strong side but we have beaten them there before, so we just need to make sure we go there confident and do the things we do well.”
Hawick’s last full game was in mid-February against Stirling County in the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup.
“We played quite well in the first 20 minutes and then we fell off, but we managed to do enough to win the game (31-27),” said Graham. “Then we had a week off, which was not the best, but we managed to organise the friendly game with Gala, which was very beneficial. We used a lot of young boys to have a look at them.”
Graham said the game, which Hawick won 26-10, kept a lot of the players interested, as a number of them had not had much recent game time.
“I think it was good run out for both teams,” said Graham. “We did some good things but we also did some poor things.
“However, I think you will always get that when you’re playing a game which has no bearing on what happens in the league.
“But it was a good run out, it kept the boys going, and we’ve had good training sessions this week too.”
Graham added: “History has told us Hawick don’t do particularly well when they have time off, as we saw after Christmas when we played Edinburgh Accies. We were very much off the pace and very lacklustre in our approach to it.
“But we’ve done our best to keep the boys ticking over, athough it’s hard. We were very fortunate to get the game against Gala.”
The Robbie Dyes’ next match after tomorrow is not due until March 23, so Graham hinted some additional activity or extra practice games may be arranged.
Tomorrow, Hawick would pit themselves against a team likely to finish in the top four, said Graham, so they were working very hard to make sure they put on a good show for the fans.
There was another proud moment last Saturday for George and the Graham family when his son Gary entered the fray in Paris during Scotland’s ill-fated Guinness Six Nations Championship against France, for his second international cap.
Gary, plus ex-Hawick player Darcy Graham and the other remaining subs, only had around 20 minutes of game time, but Gary was certainly prominently involved (more on page 29).
“I was very proud to see him get on and I think, for want of a better phrase, he did exactly what it says on the label,” said his dad. “He is very direct, doesn’t take a backward step, and I think that’s pretty much what Scotland needed at that stage.
“Wales and Ireland have players who get under your skin and try to take your mind off the game, and I think Gary tried to do that. He carried well too and he made tackles – he gave a good account of himself. It’s up to Gregor (Townsend) now to see what happens.”