Hawick, for the first time in nearly a decade, are beginning to compete, writes Alexander McLeman.
If they secure the Booker Border League with victory against Peebles this week they will identify Saturday’s victory over rivals Gala as a result of absolute significance.
Where hitherto there was promise, now there is substance.
First half tries from Scott Peffers and Nikki Walker with Neil Renwick adding two conversions cancelled out an early Luke Pettie touchdown and Ruairi Howarth’s conversion and penalty to take a 10-14 half time lead. Ewan Scott brought the Maroons to within a point of Hawick with a penalty shortly after the interval but the Greens moved up a gear and sealed victory when winger Scott McLeod crashed over in the corner.
Saturday was the outcome Hawick craved, and they are now firmly embedded in rarefied title territory, of the type not experienced for so long. This was not merely the kind of triumph Hawick enjoyed on the odd, memorable, occasion; rather it was another deserved consequence of hard-work, self-belief and a sense of purpose from the squad, a number of whom have little experience of winner-takes-all games like these, but who seem to fear no one.
Gala had desire but they lacked the fluency of their opponents, defensively suspect and profligate in possession. Defeat on Saturday not only spelled the end of Gala’s quest for a fourth consecutive Border League crown, but Currie’s last minute snatch-and-grab victory over Glasgow Hawks meant the Balerno side leap-frogged Gala into fourth, ending the Maroons hopes of a place in the League play-offs.
Hawick now sit firmly atop the Border League, and although Melrose could still usurp the Mansfield Park outfit, the ever-growing confidence and form should be enough to carry them over the line and end a trophy drought which has extended since 2006.