Two Borders cricket clubs have come together for what is thought to be a sporting first in the area.
Hawick and Wilton and Gala cricket clubs have joined forces to create a development side which will compete in the East of Scotland League next season.
It is believed to be the first time different sports clubs from both towns will play competitively in a combined team, putting aside decades of sporting rivalry.
The clubs will retain their 1st XI’s but will see squad and youth players also able to turn out in the new team in Division Nine, after the East of Scotland League accepted its application last month.
Both clubs hope the move will ensure their up and coming players get the chance to play more competitive cricket on a regular basis.
And the new side has already secured a sponsor, with solicitors Bannerman Burke – who have offices in both Galashiels and Hawick – backing the team.
Kenny Paterson, Secretary at Gala CC, said: “Both clubs struggled for games for their 2nd XI’s last season, which is where our younger players get their chance to make their first steps into senior cricket.
“It is vital we retain these youngsters in the game, but unfortunately both clubs only managed five Sunday matches each in 2015.
“Gala and Hawick considered entering their own 2nd XI’s, but with neither having big enough squads, we decided to come together to form a development side.
“The East League supported our application, which means the side will make its debut in 2016.
“It is an exciting move, and one we hope will benefit both clubs in the long term.
“There will always be a friendly rivalry between Gala and Hawick, and there has already been plenty jokes around what the development team should be called.”
Bruce Mactaggart, President of Hawick and Wilton CC, added: “The idea of this venture is simply to give young players getting more cricket, which can only benefit Borders cricket.
“Both Hawick and Gala thank the East League for their support, which will mean players can still turn out for their own clubs as well as the development side.
“We plan to share the home fixtures but there will still be additional costs such as transport and match balls, so we are grateful for the support of Bannerman Burke.
“We would welcome any other individuals or businesses who wish to support the new team in any way.”
Anyone who would like to discuss supporting or sponsor the new side, or is interested in playing, should contact Bruce Mactaggart (01450 372086 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kenny Paterson (07913767871 or email@example.com).