The Borders club’s president Rory Bannerman launched a competition to find Hawick’s own ‘dream team’ earlier this year and, after a panel of ex-Greens and historian Alan McCredie whittled the number down to the top 50, fans were asked to try to guess what final 20 the panel would come up with. Entries had to be in by yesterday.
Bannerman explained: “I came up with the idea after reading the book on Borders rugby, Southern Comfort, where journalists picked their best South XVs in the last chapter, and I asked the club committee if we’d done anything like that for Hawick.
“They said ‘no’ and so we decided to have a go and it has really taken off. Entries have come in from as far as Australia and New Zealand and it’s caught the imagination locally. Over kitchen tables and bar stools people have been agreeing and disagreeing, and falling out over it! And we started off by reminding people of players going right back to the club’s inception in 1872.”
The selection panel consisted of former players Sandy Bannerman (chairman), Jack Hegarty, Kenny McCartney, McCredie, also well renowned as Bill McLaren’s right-hand man during his BBC commentaries, and Nick Bannerman, the former Hawick centre and team manager.
The club is holding a dinner on Friday 27 September to mark the event at which they hope to have all the players named, or family representatives, present for the great unveiling, with tickets going to two of the competition entrants who come closest to naming the same team as the panel.
Hawick will also play Gala on Sunday 29 September to mark the 140th anniversary, to the day, of Hawick’s first game, which was also against their Border rivals, in a family day at the club.
As for the identity of Hawick’s greatest team players, one can only guess who might be included. The final line-up is bound to include British and Irish Lions Hugh McLeod, Jim Renwick and Colin Deans, but is there a place for the most recent Lion Stuart Hogg, or the original trio, Robbie and Willie Burnet, the first of 12 sets of brothers to represent the British Isles?
How they settled on a back row from among Derrick and Oliver Grant, Willie Welsh, Derek Turnbull, Dave and Rob Valentine, Adam Robson, Sean McGaughey, Brian Renwick and others is anyone’s guess.
All will be revealed next month. For full details of the dinner and family day go to: www.hawickrfc.co.uk.