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150 years of Hawick v Langholm

Celebrating a rugby first on Sunday 17th September at Buccleuch Park Cricket Club

We are delighted to share a famous local sporting milestone with you. Quite incredibly, it is 150 years since Hawick and Langholm played their first ever game of rugby against each other.

To mark the occasion, there will be re-enactment of the Hawick v Langholm game which took place on the Buccleuch Park Cricket Club in 1874. Both of these famous Borders teams will be kitted out in what was deemed to be the rugby clothing of 150 years ago.

Hawick Rugby Club are indebted to Claire Ramage and Liz Parkes for their expertise and guidance and to Mary Beck and her team of sewers who have spent countless hours making the costumes. The materials for which have been generously donated by Johnstons of Elgin, House of Cheviot and Lovat Mill.

Kelso referee Colin Henderson will play a key role, providing historical advice on the laws which would be in force when that first ever game was played on 7th February, 1874. It is definitely the intention that the over- 35s teams who will be representing Hawick and Langholm will firmly abide by the old laws – at least that is the intention!

Rugby had come to Hawick in those Victorian days when the Hawick cricketers purchased a football to keep themselves fit over the winter and after trying out both the association and rugby union codes, they opted for the latter as being “manlier and more conducive to the Border character”. For that first ever game Langholm insisted on playing by a copy of the laws which they had sent with the remark “we play no other rules than the enclosed”. Langholm wanted to play with teams of twenty but eventually agreed to fifteen a side. In the first ever cross-Border rugby match they had already played twenty-five aside against Carlisle!

The game was divided into four periods of twenty minutes and in these days a try was just that, it gave a side the opportunity to try to kick a goal. If the goal kick was missed no points were awarded for the touchdown. Langholm actually did score a try, but the goal kick went through the posts and over the bar. Under Hawick’s laws this would have counted but Langholm insisted that the goal kick had to go between the posts but under the bar, so the game eventually ended nil-nil!

The special commemoration re-enactment will be just two twenty minute half’s, as opposed to the original 100 minutes of play.

So, on Sunday 17th September all roads will lead to the cricket field for the 2.30pm kick off. Please do come along and support these famous old teams.

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