Nikki Walker: We can turn good season into a great one

Hawick head coach Nikki Walker is aiming for a Border League and BT Cup double
Hawick head coach Nikki Walker is aiming for a Border League and BT Cup double

Cup final fever has reached boiling point. The town is clamped in the sort of enthusiasm that once characterised teams of the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Flags, decorations and shop windows are decked out with an assortment of support for the club as the town gears up for another trip to the home of Scottish rugby and a chance at lifting a third National Cup.

It will be Hawick’s first finals day appearance since 2002 when now head coach Nikki Walker helped secure 20 minutes of extra-time in their BT Cellnet Cup final match against Glasgow Hawks with a miraculous piece of individual skill. The powerful winger crashed over the line as the clock wound down, handing Neil Stenhouse a high pressure kick to draw the side’s level. The stand-off converted and during extra-time centre Gavin Douglas drained a drop-goal to secure the trophy for the Greens.

It has been a remarkable 2014/15 season for Hawick. Staving off relegation at the end of last season, the club lost head coach Phil Leck. Walker was installed as the new head coach with former Teris Roddy Deans, Scott McLeod and Scotland Club International assistant Gordon Henderson joining his coaching team.

After beginning the year with just two wins from eight games, another relegation dogfight looked a certainty, but Walker and his team quickly turned results around. The Robbie Dyes went on to win 14 out of their next 16 games, propelling themselves not just to the BT Cup final but also to the cusp of a place in the BT Premiership league play-offs.

The Greens have failed to reach the play-offs but managed to secure the Border League, their first major trophy since 2006, with a 81-10 drubbing of Peebles. Walker acknowledges that it has been a good season but wants it to be a great one with victory this weekend.

“Where we are now it is a massive achievement for club,” said Walker.

“I am proud to have been able to help contribute in bringing the club forward, getting us to within a game of the play-offs, winning the Border League and reaching a major cup final. It has been a good season that has hopefully put Hawick rugby back on the map. But we aren’t done yet. There is still one more game left to make this season even better.

Walker added: “Boroughmuir will not be a simple task, as they have proved a number of times this season. They’ll have their professionals back, which I think when they play with them they are unbeaten, while we will be going with 22-Hawick born lads, no pro’s, which makes it a bit tougher. However, I am confident that if we can stick to our structures and keep to our style of play then I see no reason why we cannot come out on top this weekend and cap a great season for the club and supporters.”