Eligibility allegation could cost YM title

Hawick YM won the National Reserve League Two title and promotion to the top division at the weekend, but they could be stripped of it after the Scottish Rugby Union notified the club of an investigation into possible ineligible player infractions.

YM fended off GHA 30-14 at Mansfield Park on Saturday, snatching the title away from Currie on the final day of the season, but there were no major post-match celebrations after the club landed their first league title in five years.

YM received notification from the SRU last week that they were being investigated for allegedly fielding an ineligible player or players during two league matches – against Cartha Queens Park on Saturday, March 19, and a second unspecified fixture. That offence carries possible point-deducting or title-stripping sanctions.

“We played our hearts out on Saturday and all season, but didn’t really celebrate because it could all be for nothing due to this investigation and the possibility of it all being taken from us,” a player, who asked not to be named, told the Hawick News.

The Hawick News understands the crux of the issue the governing body is targeting is a rule stating that any player named in the previous starting XV in one of his club’s first XV matches will be ineligible to participate in that round.

YM have been accused by rival clubs of fielding at least one player who featured for Hawick RFC in their league game against Ayr on Saturday, March 12, for YM the next weekend.

“We played at times with just 14 players, not a full squad full of first XV players. We clearly didn’t do anything untoward,” added the player.

“Hopefully, the SRU sees that and this investigation doesn’t come to anything.”

“We struggled for numbers but still managed to get out on the pitch.”

According to its national competition rules, the SRU can impose a warning, formal reprimand and a deduction of up to five league points as a penalty.