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The Road To Murrayfield

Hawick Harlequins had ended the season of 2000-2001 losing out to Jedburgh 2nds for the Border Junior League title and had earlier been knocked out in the 1st Round of the Scottish Bowl by eventual winners Lenzie. Little did anyone at Baker Street think the following campaign would be their most succesful season to date.

The Quins started the season well, with convincing victories over Gala YM and Hawick Linden. A scrappy 3-3 draw against Selkirk "A' was the only real test before routs against Peebles 'A', Jed "A' and Kelso "A' put The Quins in great shape for the season ahead. Although going on to win the title that year, it wasn't just these performances that made it such a memorable season.

The Scottish Cup, Scotlands biggest club rugby competition. The Baker Street men drew a home tie against Caithness in the 1st Round, which they won 29-15 and gained them a glamour tie against National League Division One side Annan. Although running the Dumfries & Galloway club close The Quins were narrowly beaten by a point, 27-26. The defeat in the second round of the competition meant qualification for the BT Cellnet Bowl.

Dumfries from National League Division Five were first up and travelled down to Wilton Lodge Park only to back up the road after conceding five tries in a 42-6 loss. This comfortable win saw The Harlequins drawn in another home tie against much tougher opposition in Kilmarnock Falcons. However, the Hawick boys were playing like a team with a meaning and looked very fit and talented. The game was close and the sides were well matched, with three minutes from time infront of an encouraging crowd at Wilton Lodge Park, The Quins were awarded a penalty some 30 yards out. Trailing by a single point, 11-12, Alan Chalmers stepped up and rattled the ball onto the bar and over. They hang on for a memorable victory and a place in the next round.
Only two wins were needed to get the Border Junior League side to the final at Scotlands national stadium, Murrayfield. The rugby club was buzzing, packed out on a Saturday night with the lyrics,

"Come on without, come on within, you aint seen nothing like The Mighty Quins"

being regularly heard around the town. The Hawick boys started to believe they could do what no one had even contemplated just a season ago. The confidence was sky high and it showed in their Quarter Final tie, again at home, against Ardrossan Academicals from National League Division Two. Heavy rain that week had ment work had to be done for the pitch to be ready, the players were and ran out convincing winners, 25-3. Alexander Norrie, the Man of the Match, scoring two tries and Alan Chalmers slotting five penalties.

Next up, a side from Ayrshire, Cumnock. Committee Members had travelled to Aberdeen to take in a game and eye up their Semi Final opponents. The Quins knew this would be a tough tussle but with the record they had this season at Wilton Lodge Park, they'd be tough to beat. They were. With tries from Colin McCartney and Des Szoneberg, Hawick Harlequins were in The Final.

The run up to The Final was breathtaking, with Hawick RFC reaching the Scottish Cup and The Quins in The BT Cellnet Bowl, the whole town were behind both teams, banners and rosettes were made in the club colours, buses were decorated and faces painted. The Harlequins had ten bus loads of supporters travelling with them, all set for a great day.

Ellon Rugby Football Club, playing in National League Division Four were the other finalists in The Bowl Competition. Big, strong and tough opponents. Arriving at Murrayfield, the players were made to feel like stars, with the supporters clapping, shouting and cheering them all the way. The Drums and Fifes played the Quins out onto the pitch with Captain Craig Oldham leading the way. The opening stages of the game were filled with nerves, passes being dropped. Alan Chalmers had chances to put them infront with the boot, but uncharacteristically he missed the opportunities. The score was 6-6 when Ellon Captain Hendry drove over from a lineout to score a vital try. With three minutes remaining the same man bulldozed over to put the game beyond doubt.

The final score was 18-6, no disgrace at all. Hawick Harlequins had made a name for themselves and a name for the Club. They had begun the season without a coach and few players but ended it with what some might say, the best Hawick Harlequins side to date.