Reforms on ‘positive’ footing

Councillor Alastair Cranston
Councillor Alastair Cranston

Discussions remain positive between the town’s senior and junior rugby clubs on proposed reforms, according to the Hawick Rugby Trust.

Club presidents and representatives have met for the fourth time to map out the next steps in a bid to stem the loss of young, talented rugby players from the town, and how best to put in place a management structure that would allow all clubs to benefit.

Trust chairman Alastair Cranston, who has mediated at the talks, said he was buoyed by the clubs’ enthusiasm but warned it will take time before anything concrete is agreed.

He said: “Discussions have continued and things are slowly moving forward with all clubs indicating that they wish talks to progress, which can only be positive.”

“All the parties involved seem to be together on what has been debated already, but like all big decisions we have to take things step-by-step as problems will arise. Clubs will now talk among themselves and listen to what their members want and where the talks need to go next.”

Cranstoncontinued: “Every club is aware of the issues currently in the town and all are very active in trying to turn things around. There is no sense of trepidation from anyone involved but we know changes won’t happen overnight. But I am pleased overall how the talks are going and positive that everyone knows how important they are to the future of rugby in the town.”

Cranston and the trust have cited the evolution of the amateur game in Scotland and the dawn of the pro-am leagues as the main cause of the exodus of talent from the town.

Money and quality of training were also major concerns with local clubs struggling to keep pace with the rest of Scotland.

“Money talks for a lot of clubs, and if the numbers are right then players will go where the money is,” said Cranston.

“We know that young talent is always needed and if big money is offered to ply your trade elsewhere then most would grab that opportunity with both hands. What we want is to put in place a structure that doesn’t mean the brightest talents have to leave to earn a living.”

“What we are hoping for is to implement a structure that develops players from a young age, provide them with a clear pathway from the school and junior levels right through to the senior teams and not see them lost to other sports.”

He added: “We want players to stay in the game and offer top quality training that means clubs the best possible chance to compete on a Saturday and have a larger pool of players to choose from.”

Discussions remain ongoing with the next meeting scheduled for June 30, and Cranston is hopeful these talks will continue positively and start to form a model the clubs can build from.

“Overall these proposals are not about bringing an end to clubs with an amalgamation or merger but about kick-starting a growth in the game that will guarantee the future of rugby in Hawick.

“But we don’t want to pressurise clubs and members into making knee-jerk decisions.”