‘Too many changes’ during Peebles learning curve, admits Hawick coach

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HAWICK coach Phil Leck has defended his team selection for last week’s Border League defeat to Peebles.

The Greens fielded an unrecognisable side to the one that had won over Selkirk in the National League seven days previously.

Out went John Coutts, Lee Armstrong, Rory Hutton, Matt Landels, Craig Smith, Nick Mactaggart and Stuart Graham as Leck gave some of the fringe players a run against the men from The Gytes.

A win last Friday would have set up a crunch clash with Melrose for a place in the final of the competition.

But although he conceded he had tinkered with the side a bit too much, Leck stressed it had still been a worthwhile exercise despite the result.

He told the Hawick News: “There were definitely too many changes made, but they were made for a reason. I think we got what we wanted apart from the result.

“It was a conscious thing and part of a development process, but we still thought we had a side capable of beating Peebles.”

Rare starts were handed to Ross Armstrong, Neil McColm and Ali Weir in the backs, while Dale Johnstone and Rory Smith stepped into the forwards from the Quins.

And the Mansfield Park faithful were also given a chance to see the promising talent from the semi-junior ranks in the shape of Finlay Simpson (PSA) and Sam Bandeen (Wanderers).

Leck said: “We got to learn lots of things and the big positives for me was seeing Finlay and Sam come in and get some experience and game time. It was fantastic for me to give them the opportunity as well as Rory and Dale from the Quins.

“We had to find out who would be able to step up to that level.”

And while Leck was relatively pleased with what he saw from his young charges, he conceded that he is still keen to boost playing numbers.

“We’re always looking to strengthen the squad,” he said. “Even if we had a team of world-beaters out there we’d still be looking to see if we could add to it somehow.