Hawick launch 150th celebratory book

'Voices of Hawick Rugby' contains written contributions and oral history interviews from over 170 people who have been touched by the club in one way or another

A NEW book celebrating 150 years of Hawick Rugby Football Club was launched at their Mansfield Park clubrooms last night [Wednesday]. With written testimonies and oral history interviews from over 170 contributors, ‘Voices of Hawick Rugby’ is, according to its compilers, “a treasure-trove of stories that help explain what has made Hawick such a successful rugby club”. 

“We gave our contributors carte-blanche to share their personal memories and narratives of what they considered appropriate,” said Ian Landles, one of the book’s co-editors. “The result is a unique insight into what has made the club tick, the highs and lows, the passion, the commitment, the hard work, the fun, the humour and the lasting friendships.”

Fellow co-editor, Murray Watson, added: “Without question, Hawick is one of the most consistently successful rugby clubs in the world. Our contributors reveal what brought the club success on the pitch, but we also hear from an army of committed volunteers behind the scenes who kept them there and overcame adversity such as the financial problems that arrived when the game went professional and more recently overcoming the problems of flooding.”

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“Work on the book coincided with the arrival of Covid-19 AND lockdown necessitated the use of Zoom to interview contributors from all over Scotland and as far afield as Canada and New Zealand,” Watson continued. “The oral history approach adopted in these recorded interviews encouraged the interviewees to reminisce and talk about whatever they considered relevant.

The result of this approach was a broad diversity in the range of topics raised. At the same time, similar themes and issues were raised time and again. It soon emerged that ‘Voices of Hawick Rugby’ was much more than a history of the Hawick Rugby Club, it was about its people and community, and the role rugby has played in making Hawick such a special place.

“Many of the contributors recalled funny stories. These included a group of supporters who sang ‘Teribus’ [a Hawick Common Riding song] in the Ladies toilets at Murrayfield after the 1996 cup final, to the ball boy who had a near-death experience on the scoreboard, to a future internationalist who watched Champion the Wonder Horse on a black and white TV with Bill McLaren, and to the tea ladies who found a mouse’s nest in the oven where they made the players’ teas.”

  • ‘Voices of Hawick Rugby’ is a hardback with 392 pages and 28 photographic plates. It costs £25 from the club shop or by mail order (plus £4 p&p) from imlandles.ohawick@btinternet.com. There are contributions from players, including British Lions and internationalists, supporters, volunteers who work behind the scenes, as well as from opponents, referees and journalists, including the Hawick legend, Bill McLaren.

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About David Barnes 3817 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.