Long-serving duo to be honoured

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‘ONCE a Redskin, always a Redskin’.

The unofficial club slogan could refer to a whole number of men who have given loyal service to Hawick YM over the years.

Players like Jock Oldham, Kenny Murray, Ian Cranston, Doug Waldie, Kenny Lothian, Wilson Patterson, Robbie Kerr, Alec Jackson, Charlie Renwick, Tom Lyall, Haig Martin, Jed Huggan and Graeme Renwick.

And in the modern era two stars of the current squad certainly fit the bill in the shape of Billy Lilly and Gregor Welsh who have been playing at Mansfield Haugh for a combined 35 years.

Both enjoyed brief spells over the fence at Hawick but they were always a ‘Red’.

Welsh, whose brother Scott played for the YM, joined the club straight from Hawick Wanderers, although his first game for the 2nds outfit against Jed 3rds back in September 1993 ended in a 22-29 defeat.

Former Trades man Lilly meanwhile admitted he took some cajoling before making the move.

The 35-year-old said: “I started at the Trades because all my mates were there, but Dan Deans kept on at me to go and play for the YM and eventually I went along.

“I started off in the 2nds. Both teams were playing sides from Jed and I remember one of the props for the first team got injured. Our game was nearly finished so I just went over and played for them and that was it.”

While he briefly starred for the senior side in 2003, Lilly was soon back among the ranks of the YM.

For 37-year-old Gregor it was a less memorable step up. He said: “I played once for Hawick 2nds against the Linden in 2004. I tore ankle ligaments and was out for seven weeks at a time when we (YM) were on a good run in the BT Bowl and were top of the league. I’ve never worn a green shirt since.”

Both players have been a part of one of the most successful YM sides enjoying promotions from Division Five East right up to National One last year. They have tasted victory in the SDU 7s and twice visited Murrayfield on Cup Finals Day.

So what is it that has kept them with Hawick YM for so long?

Billy said: “It’s a great club to be at. There’s always a good atmosphere and a great winning mentality.”

While Gregor simply says: “Win or lose – oo’r on the booze!”

The pair are set to be honoured at a tribute dinner on February 16 in the town hall with guest speakers including Richie Gray, Peter Wright and George McNeil.

Tickets are priced £25. For more information contact Jammy on 07729248474.