ON THE eve of the first ever competitive fixture between Hawick and neighbours Hawick YM, we can reveal that both clubs have taken giant steps towards working in partnership.
A meeting between the two clubs was held this week with a view to sharing players and a coaching structure from next season onwards. Greens president Rory Bannerman said: “Talks are ongoing with the YM with a view to trying to put in place a future that allows the two teams to train together to improve the skills base and player base of both teams.
“We hope that will show a more collegiate style of relationship between both clubs as they strive to move on from their leagues.”
But Mr Bannerman told the Hawick News the set-up would not see the YM become Hawick 2nds and the Redskins would continue to be their own club.
“The YM are going to remain an independent club,” he said.
“There is no question of setting up a 2nds. The SRU are keen to promote the idea of mirror leagues for 2nds sides but we see no benefit for ourselves in utilising that.”
Mr Bannerman also dismissed suggestions that promising players in the town would be forced into playing at Mansfield Haugh should they wish to make the step up to the town’s senior side. He said: “There is absolutely no way any requirement to have to play for one team if you want to play for the other, that has been a misunderstanding over the last few weeks. There is no intention of frog-marching boys down to the YM if they want to play for Hawick.”
This was a fear expressed by Linden president Rob Black. He said: “We had a meeting with Hawick RFC and went to listen to what they were saying. They have assured us that players will not be directed to the YM and they want us and the Quins to keep going.”
However, there was a different response from the Quins who refused to attend the meeting and remain sceptical about the new plan.
President Alan Bell said: “We are willing to go our own way and see what happens.”
Meanwhile, Mr Bannerman revealed talks were due to take place with the SRU in a bid to relax the ‘eight-game rule’, whereby players can’t feature for any other club if they play eight or more games.
He said: “We are the only town which has four senior teams in the national leagues and at the moment the eight-game ruling is punishing us and the other teams in Hawick.”