Greens refusing to panic

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HAWICK coach Derek Armstrong has denied there is a crisis at Mansfield Park despite losing four first team players.

Forwards David Lowrie and Alistair Marsh have both signed for big-spending Kelso, while winger Craig Robertson has returned to Premier One newcomers Gala and flanker Gary Lowrie has followed him to Netherdale.

The Greens are already without Rory Hutton, Neil Renwick and Craig Charters, who are in Australia, while there are question marks over where John Coutts will be playing his rugby this season, with Ayr and Kelso reportedly interested in the talented young back, who is training with Hawick YM.

Former Hawick Wanderer Gary said: “Basically the reason why I’m leaving is because I don’t want messed about like last season and plus George Graham knows what he’s going on about as well.

“I’m really looking forward to playing for Gala as it will be a massive learning curve and hopefully the correct move for me. I wish Hawick all the best and look forward to the Hawick v Gala derby (October 8).”

Armstrong said the departing players went with the club’s best wishes but, as pre-season training started on Tuesday night, he was unable to say whether their positions would be filled.

Lee Armstrong has already agreed to move from the YM and speculation is rife that former prop Nikki Little, who spent last season at Melrose, could return to the Greens after training at Mansfield Park on Tuesday night. In-demand Jed-Forest winger Gregor Young is another name mentioned, while it is understood imports have also been suggested.

Coach Armstrong is remaining tight-lipped over possible new players, but urged caution among supporters.

He said: “The players have explained their reasons for leaving to us and we have taken them on board. I’ve moved away myself, it happens in the modern game and everybody’s circumstances in life are different.

“I wish them all the best at their new clubs.”

Promising young forward Lewis Mallin, who played a pivotal role in the YM’s success last season, is another who is set to join the Teri ranks at Poynder Park.

He said: “It was a hard decision but they have offered me a chance to play in the back row and I’ll not get the chance in Hawick so I think it will be the best for my development.”

Meanwhile, Hawick have removed their guestbook from their website amid mounting criticism from supporters keen to find out the latest news from Mansfield Park.

Club secretary John Thorburn said: “Hawick RFC are happy to speak to anyone who wants to know anything about the club.”