Obituary: Dougie Jackson, Scottish rugby internationalist, Hawick XV and VII stalwart
Dougie Jackson, who has died aged 76, was a well known Hawick rugby player who in addition to earning eight caps for Scotland as a winger in the 1960s served his club with distinction both on and off the pitch for over 50 years.
Having made his debut for the famous ‘Greens’ in the 1958/9 season, he went on to play 242 games over the next 12 seasons before continuing to play for Hawick YM till the late 1970s. Off the pitch he held a number of positions with Hawick – committee member, President, Director of Rugby, sevens convenor – and for his services was honoured with Life Membership. He also coached the YM club and was club President. As a player he regularly represented the South of Scotland including games against the touring All Blacks and Springboks in 1965 and ’70 and toured with the Scottish Border club to South Africa in 1967.
Later he was manager of the South’s under-21 team which brought through several noted players, among them Scotland’s record cap holder Chris Paterson.
Other highlights on the pitch included winning numerous national and Border league titles and being a member of the celebrated Hawick Sevens squad that set a record of winning ten consecutive tournaments between 1966 and ’67. He also played in the seven that enjoyed a ‘clean sweep’ of the three autumn Border tournaments in 1967, recording the highest points total.
As a Scottish international he enjoyed the unusual experience of being unbeaten in his first five internationals. After playing in the 1964 trial alongside teammates Suddon, Grieve, Hunter and the Grant brothers,he was selected as travelling reserve for the match against Ireland in Dublin in February.
Injury forced left winger Ronnie Thomson to call off allowing Jackson to make his international debut in a 6-3 win during which it was reported he ‘excelled in cover and tackle’.
A year later he played against England at Twickenham with the Queen present when Hancock’s famous or perhaps infamous last minute try secured a 3-3 draw for the hosts. A month later he faced the Springboks at Murrayfield in an 8-5 home win, the first success against South Africa since 1906.
His direct opponent was one of the all time great South African wingers Jannie Engelbrecht, against whom Jackson was praised for a ‘typically gritty’ performance. Victories then followed over Australia in 1968 and against France in Paris in 1969 when a Jim Telfer try secured the points.
He made three final international appearances that season, bowing out in a narrow defeat at Twickenham. Although by today’s standards at 5’10” and about 12 stones he would be considered slight, he was a well balanced fast runner, strong in the tackle and an accomplished try scorer.
A club history described him as an “often underestimated but highly sophisticated and elegant winger”. His pace was honed by regular appearances in the Border Games’ sprints in which he participated successfully till the mid 1960s.
William Douglas Jackson was born in Hawick to Gavin and Fanny, brother to Alex, Wattie, Robert and Margaret. His father worked on the railway and the family lived near Mansfield Park rugby ground before moving to the town’s Burnfoot area.
Jackson attended Wilton primary school and then Hawick High School. Unusually given his subsequent rugby career, he played football as a youngster at school, well enough to attract the attention of Carlisle United who gave him a trial and wanted to sign him as a 15-year-old.
Having been dissuaded from doing so by his father, he then began playing rugby for Hawick Wanderers, quickly demonstrating an aptitude for the game that led to his making his debut for Hawick in season 1958-9.
He began to establish himself the next season playing 15 times in the ‘Jack Hegarty’ team that claimed both the national and Border league titles and then became a mainstay of the successful team of the 1960s that effectively swept all before them.
Over several seasons he topped their try scoring charts, in 1969-70 notching 29 to equal the club record. As a member of the squad that won ten ‘7’s’ tournaments in a row he was awarded a commemorative medal, displaying on one side photos of each of the players and on the other, symbols representing the eight host towns concerned.
He also played in the Hawick ‘7’ that reached the final of the Twickenham tournament, losing narrowly to London Scottish.
In March 1964 he married Hawick girl Shiela Turnbull whom he had met while teenagers at school. Their wedding featured a Guard of Honour from the Boys Brigade and Girl Guides as he was an officer in the BBs and she a Leader in the Guides. They enjoyed 53 years of happy marriage during which daughters Vivienne and twins Sandra and Caroline were born.
Initially they lived in the town’s Buccleuch Street before moving to the West End. After working for Hawick Hosiery he joined his father in law in the building trade as a plasterer and latterly was engaged in property preservation work running his own company.
His nine grandchildren were the joy of his life but sadly his first grandson Richard, a promising rugby player, died in a car accident in 2009 which was a terrible blow.
Away from family and rugby, Jackson was a keen horseman and every year for 50 years followed the Common Riding on horseback. He also enjoyed bowling and was a member of the Buccleuch Club for whom he played competitively.
A modest individual with a sharp sense of humour, he was a popular figure who his grandchildren adored and who made a valued contribution to his community.
He is survived by his wife, daughters and eight grandchildren.