CONCERNS about disgruntled Hawick RFC players leaving the town to play elsewhere were raised at the club’s annual general meeting on Monday night, writes Fiona Scott.
During the close season, at least four members of Derek Armstrong’s playing squad have jumped ship, with two, Alistair Marsh and David Lowrie, crossing over to play for second division Kelso.
Club secretary John Thorburn admitted there had been an open debate on the subject, but insisted morale within the club was as strong as ever.
He told us: “We are disappointed to lose these players from the squad, especially as we believe their decision to move was made for personal gain.
“That seems to be the way the game is going, though, and clubs without big investors will end up losing out.
“It’s sad, but we have to keep going and work with the squad of committed players we do have.
“We are fortunate to have really passionate members at the club and the numbers (around 100 members) at the AGM showed the depth of feeling there is for rugby in Hawick.
“I know that other clubs throughout Scotland struggle to get people to come to an annual general meeting.
“We look forward to next season and the challenges that go with it.”
Club president Alister Pow, reported of his personal highs and lows during last season and said he was delighted that the club had secured a top-eight place as well as winning their own sevens tournament in April, and he added that it was a disappointment not to play the Glasgow Hawks fixture on the scheduled date.
Management committee member Stuart Kinghorn presented the financial report which showed a profit of around £5,000.
There will be an increase in the price of membership for next season for the first time in three years. It was also stated that next season, with the early rounds of the RBS Cup played locally in the Borders, members will not need to pay to watch these games as has been the case in previous seasons.
Bruce McNeil was elected captain again and it was also announced that former scrum half Kevin Reid would be assisting on the rugby side of the club next season.
There were no changes to the coaching set-up or management committee for next season.
Murray Watson closed the evening with an appropriate vote of thanks.
Elsewhere, Gala are waiting for clearance for a New Zealand centre ahead of their return to Premier One.
George Graham has been busy trying to strengthen his squad after leading them back to the top flight for the second time in his career.
Stand-off Bruce Dick has left for Melrose for a second time, but Graham has resigned two of Gala’s most talented youngsters in Gregor Hunter – who is in the Edinburgh academy but has switched back to Gala from Heriot’s – and former New Year Sprint winner Craig Robertson, who last year went to Hawick to play Premier One rugby.
Graham has also added former Selkirk and Peebles centre-wing Craig Borthwick, as well as Scotland under-18 caps Chris Auld, the centre and captain from Dumfries; Russell Anderson, a hooker from Langholm; and Hawick back row Gary Lowrie.