GIRLS TOLD TO PLAY AWAY

Carly Noble
Carly Noble

FOOTBALL starlets Carly Noble and Lauren Mackenzie have been told they must ply their trade outwith the town.

The youngsters, who have both been capped for Scotland, are not allowed to continue to play alongside the boys in the current Hawick Youth set-up under Scottish Football Association rules.

Lauren Mackenzie

Lauren Mackenzie

The two played a starring role for the Under-15 side, helping them to league and cup glory last season.

And although Hawick are looking into setting up an U-17 side in time for the season starting next February, Drew Kelly, Borders SFA development officer, believed the delay in competitive fixtures would have a detrimental effect on their respective careers.

He said: “The best case scenario would be trying to get a team just now, but that won’t be possible until March.

“What we can do in the meantime is arrange friendlies, but if I let that happen I think I would be doing them a dis-service because I don’t think they’d be challenged enough.”

At a meeting in the Tower Mill, committee members from Hawick Youth and parents heard of a possible link-up with a team from the city, eg Hearts.

They were told that the girls would receive financial support from the Sports Council and the Athlete Support Programme, which would help to cover their travelling costs.

And, as they are set to sit their standard grade exams next year, they were given assurances that they could still train with Hawick Youth during the week.

David Drummond, SFA regional manager for the south east, said: “What I would recommend is that they don’t travel up to train. They train locally in Hawick as they do at the moment with the boys and travel up for games at the weekend.”

However, it was with a degree of reluctance that the idea was welcomed by the girls.

Lauren said: “We still wanted to play with the boys because we’ve been there for ages.”

Mr Kelly revealed a girls development officer for the region is due to be in place by the middle of next month.

And he said their first port of call will be Hawick, with the ultimate hope of developing teams from U-8 right through to U-17.

“At the moment there’s not enough girls to come together for an Under-17 side and so you would be dipping into the Under-15s and Under-13s, bringing girls on far too quickly,” he said.

“In an ideal world we’d like to see teams from Hawick, Gala, Peebles and Selkirk and we’d have our own Scottish Borders league.

“But even if that was the case, I would still be sitting here saying to the girls that if they want to develop then they need to be playing at the highest level and that’s in the city.”

It was pointed out that the high school girls were Under-15 Scottish Cup holders, with concerns expressed that they might also miss out under the new guidelines.

However, it was agreed to pursue the plans to establish an Under-17 side.

Hawick Youth chairman Frank Scott said: “The problem is they (Carly and Lauren) are too good for what is here.

“They’ve reached a stage where to challenge themselves they are needing to travel outwith the area.

“We’ll do everything we can so they can still train here in the town and we hope to also get them involved in the friendly matches being organised which is allowed by the SFA.”