Hawick and Gala face-off under the lights at Netherdale tonight (Friday) in a rearranged Border League tie, with a win for the Greens guaranteeing them a place in the final and the possibility of ending the season with some silverware.
The Mansfield Park side took the title contenders right to the wire a fortnight ago in a tight 21-22 loss, but travel to Netherdale having not won there in almost a decade and have already lost both encounters with the Maroons this season.
Hawick scarcely need reminding that they have lost three of their last five games and have not beaten a team above National League One this year.
However, Bruce McNeil, the Robbie Dyes’ influential back-row forward, remains confident the club can retain their Premiership status and has called for a big performance against the league leaders.
“We know a good performance against Gala on Friday will put us in the right frame of mind going into the next two league games [against Heriot’s and Ayr] which are very important for the club.
“It is always a big game when you play Gala no matter if it’s in the league or cup, so we will be going out to win at all costs.”
McNeil acknowledged that it will be tough against Gala but is determined to help Hawick conquer their fierce rivals and turn around the Greens’ recent misfortunes.
“A win over a top team like Gala is always great and it would be a huge confidence-booster going into the next few weeks. For us to retain our league status it is important to start building momentum as it is going to play a big part in us staying up.
“Gala are always a tough side but we showed two weeks ago that just because you are sitting at the top of the league it doesn’t make you unbeatable.”
Greens prop Lindsay Gibson, fresh from his Club international involvement, insisted that a similar performance to the one put in at Mansfield Park last month would be an ideal way to build up to an important league run, while also securing the club a surprise cup final place.
“What better way to prepare for a difficult next few weeks than playing one of the top teams in the Premiership in a competitive game. If the same team shows up on Friday to the one that gave them a scare at Mansfield a few weeks back then there is no reason why we can’t get a result that will put us on the right track to league survival.
“It would be great to finish the season off by sealing our premiership status while also playing in a Border League final.”