Mighty Quins clinch Eastern league title

Hawick Harlequins savour the championship-winning moment (picture by Alwyn Johnston).
Hawick Harlequins savour the championship-winning moment (picture by Alwyn Johnston).

Hawick Harlequins celebrated a joyous double in the wet and miserable weather last weekend.

The squad clinched the BT East League Division One title after a nerve-shredding victory against Berwick.

And, with the game servbing as a BT National Shield double header, the Quins also ensured a semi-final place in that competition.

Saturday’s triumph at the Volunteer 3G park has opened the door to the national stage and a place next season in BT National League Division Three.

But the Quins are not sure yet if they’ll be able to step through it.

Club president Timmy Pretswell said they’d be having a series of discussions about whether the club had the resources and the finances to afford, realistically, a step up to the national scene.

Delighted as everyone was to have won the league, said Timmy, the Harlequins had a small squad, many of whom were farmers, and travelling early in the morning to away games might be difficult for some of them.

The whole question of travel was also a huge one for the Harlequins, as they would face trips to Orkney, Inverness and Aberdeen, among other places, which could place a big strain on finances.

However, said Timmy, no decision had been made yet and the matters would be talked over in due course.

On match day itself, only the length of a penalty goal separated the sides, with Adam Hall clinching a 22-19 victory with a late kick.

Hall had also converted two of Quins’ three tries. Two of these were scored by Sam Bandeen and the other by Ross Nichol.

“We did really well this season but it’s a long process – it hasn’t just happened overnight,” said Timmy, adding that five or six years of hard work had come to fruition.

The game itself was tense, and Timmy felt Berwick had played well while the Quins had occasionally struggled.

There was a sense of “trepidation” about the National League, which was the “real unknown”, he added.

This was the highest finish in the club’s history but it had been a nervous day on Saturday. “We’ve only lost once all season, away from home, but we were at home on Saturday. We were fairly confident, going into a home tie, but there’s always that fear,” said Timmy.