Written by Gary Alexander for “Reflections O' Hawick”
Published in 2015, compiled by Ian W. Landles and Alan
Reproduced with kind permission from the publishers
As far as we know, the game of cricket was first played in
Hawick about 1844 by several English stocking makers who came northward in
pursuit of their calling. For a short time they played amongst themselves on
the Brewery Haugh but the game was in a languid state. In 1849, considerable
impetus was given by the arrival in Hawick of David Hall, a waste merchant from
Batley and keen cricketer who did much to stimulate an interest in the game.
The first match to be played in the district involving
Hawick players took place at Borthwickbrae in 1849 between Hawick players and a
group of English gentlemen who were residing there. The return game in the
Upper Common Haugh was the first cricket match to be played in Hawick. The
large crowd who watched the game were startled by Sir Frederick Millbank (one
of the English gentlemen) when he drove a ball clean over the roof of the old
Toll Bar house into the Under Common Haugh.
The year 1849 also saw the formation of three cricket clubs
representing different localities in the town. The Hawick Club for those
residing in the East end; the Western Star for those in the West end; and the
Wilton Club for those in the parish of Wilton. When the latter began to admit
members resident in Hawick, their name was changed to Hawick & Wilton.
Hawick, reconstituted as Teviotdale in 1850 before
dissolving in 1857, played in the Upper Common Haugh. Western Star also moved
there having initially played on the Vertish Hill but they only survived about four seasons.
Wilton practised at Galalaw but its distance from the town forced a move to the
Upper Common Haugh. The Albert Club also existed for a short period during the
late 1850s but, as the other clubs folded, Hawick & Wilton became the one
remaining Club in the town.
The unsuitability of the Common Haugh for cricket resulted
in an approach to the Duke of Buccleuch. The petition to His Grace was drawn up
and strengthened by the signature of the Magistrates and Town Council. In a
letter of response the Duke said, “I
approve highly of cricket, and have always supported the game in Scotland.”
The cost of laying out the ground, turfing the centre, and erecting the large
entrance gate was entirely defrayed by His Grace and, through his munificence,
Hawick was put in possession of Buccleuch Park, one of the largest and finest
cricket grounds in Scotland.
In 1859, Lord John Scott, brother of the Duke, sent the club
a number of bats, balls and wickets and promised the cost of a professional for
the first season. It was Lord John who had impressed upon the Duke the great
need of a suitable ground at Hawick. The opening match on the new ground was
played on 22nd September 1860 against Langholm with the visitors winning by 7
runs in a double-innings match.
A St Cuthbert’s Club was formed in the town with their first
games against Hawick & Wilton taking place in 1867. The second meeting that
year was unusually played on a Wednesday afternoon which was possible due to
the occasion of a holiday for Queen Victoria’s visit to the Borders.
During the 1800s only a handful of games were played each
season, with much lower scoring than we know today. Indeed it took until 1866
for the first individual 50, by W. Elliot who scored 62 not out against Gala,
and to 1895 for the first century by J. Montgomery, 101 not out v Watsonians.
Conversely, and quite incredibly, a club record total of 406
was scored v Kelso in 1887 which was an utterly remarkable figure for the time.
In 1881 William Dryden performed another remarkable feat by taking a hat-trick
in each innings against Langholm.
Towards the end of the 1889 season, a photograph was taken
of the then pavilion in view of its pending demolition to make way for a larger
and more commodious building. On the scoreboard is displayed the score of 220
for 5 made against Kelso earlier that year with the figure of 97 representing
the not out total scored by the Earl of Dalkeith who unfortunately is not
actually present in the picture.
Funds for the pavilion, as well as for re-turfing the
outfield and repairing the boundary fences, were raised courtesy of a three day
bazaar. The club’s new pavilion was opened on 10th May 1890 against Grange with
the home team winning by 14 runs.
The turn of the century saw cricket strengthen in the town
with a notable fixture taking place in 1904 when an M.C.C. team visited,
captained by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes novels, but
also a notable cricketer who once took the wicket of the legendary W.G. Grace
in a first-class match. The depth of strength of the game in the town can also
be found in the first mention found of a Factory and Trades League championship
in 1907, won by Lyle & Scott Ltd.
The early part of the 20th century brought
success for the town both locally and at international level. In 1910 Hawick
& Wilton won the Border League for the first time, repeating the feat the following
year. 1911 also saw the first Hawick players selected to represent their
country. Brothers James and Walter Storrie played against Ireland with the
former winning his second cap later that year against All India in a match
played at Galalshiels. It should also be noted that Maurice Dickson, who played
for Hawick & Wilton in 1902 and 1903, was subsequently capped for Scotland
in 1904 and went on to captain his country.
James Storrie achieved the remarkable feat during his career
of taking 1,514 wickets in club cricket. An impressive number in any town, but
rather magical in Hawick! The only other Hawick & Wilton player to take
more than 1,000 wickets was A. M. C. Thorburn with 1,073, although some of
these were whilst playing for Stewart’s FP, Royal High and Grange. Another
remarkable wicket taking feat involved A. McArthur who incredibly took all 10
in a match against Gala at Mossilee in 1940.
During the 1914-1918 war a remarkable amount of cricket was
played on Buccleuch Park. This was due to the large number of military
stationed in Hawick, Stobs and the surrounding country. Besides matches between
Hawick and the regiments, there were also inter-regimental matches. Since many
Hawick & Wilton players were away serving their country, the local team was
often made up by some of the military visitors.
Between the two wars cricket was faced with more competition
from other summer sports, but it continued to flourish in the town.
September 1925 saw the visit of Kent County to Buccleuch
Park with one of the largest crowds seen at the ground. The Kent XI was at full
strength with the exception of England’s Frank Woolley, playing for the Rest XI
against the English County Champions. Although Hawick fielded a strengthened
side for the match, it was still remarkable that they scored a notable victory.
James Storrie with 5 for 35 played a big part in dismissing the visitors for
just 74. Harold Hardinge, an England cap, with 44 was the only Kent batsman to
reach double figures. Top scorer for Hawick was the then Lord Dalkeith.
Whilst Woolley may have missed out on playing at Buccleuch
Park, many other England test cricketers have graced Hawick’s ground: George
Hirst, Wilfred Rhodes, David Denton and Schofield Haigh to name just four.
In 1926, part of the cricket field was taken over to be used
as a site for the new Henderson Technical College. There was no heating in the
pavilion until 1928 when it was agreed that gas be installed at a cost of £5 though
it took until 1959 for electricity to become available.
1928 also saw the first petrol driven mower, horses having
been used up to that time to pull the machine which cut the grass. Horses were
not the only animals to use the cricket field. For a long time sheep were
allowed on in the close season when it was let for grazing.
Just like the Great War, during the Second World War there
was more cricket played on Buccleuch Park than in normal times, due to the
large number of military in the area. The Club’s games were restricted but
there were many matches between regiments and between one unit and another. The
most prominent military player was probably Captain Bryan Valentine of Kent and
The Hawick & Wilton Club celebrated its centenary in the
week beginning 27th June 1949. Three special matches were played at Buccleuch
Park; East v South, Hawick & Wilton v Scottish Union XI and Hawick &
Wilton v Carlisle. The Centenary Dinner on 29th June was attended by a large
company, which included representatives from the Scottish Cricket Union and the
Edinburgh and Border clubs, the Duke of Buccleuch, Bryan Valentine (the English
Test player), and many Teri exiles.
Around this time the High School cricket team had several
years of outstanding success and, from this source, Hawick & Wilton gained
some very promising recruits. There also developed at that time great interest
in the Parks Cricket League, the number of teams competing, mainly from trades
and mills, and consequently the numbers playing cricket in the town was far
more than ever before. Pringle’s were the dominant force winning the League 12
times in the post-war years.
Having last won the Border League in 1911, it took until
1959 for Hawick & Wilton to repeat the feat. Under the captaincy of Eric
Grierson, the key players during the season were Jack Bowie, Eli Cunningham,
Dickie Johnstone, Bert Marshall, Ramsay Oliver, Andrew Pender, Eric Prince,
Harry Simpson, Tom Simpson, Jim Stavert and Dennis Whitehead.
In September 1960 a special game was played to mark the
centenary of the first ever game played at Buccleuch Park. Hawick & Wilton
took on a Langholm Select, which wasn’t far off a Borders Select, followed by a
celebratory dinner. The only change to the normal Hawick side was the inclusion
of former professional Alf Creber.
The fourth, and most recent, Border League win came in 1964.
The players who helped secure the title were Eric Grierson (captain), Jack
Bowie, Eli Cunningham, Benny M. Hartop, Dickie Johnstone, Bert Marshall, Alex
Michie, Ramsay Oliver, Peter Paterson-Brown, Andrew Pender, Eric Prince, Roy
Purdom, Harry Simpson, Tom Simpson, Jim Stavert and Dennis Whitehead.
Having captained two Border League winning teams, Eric
Grierson was later to go on to the great honour of being President of the
Scottish Cricket Union in 1997. He became the third Hawick man to hold such
office, following in the footsteps of I. Gray Wallis in 1931 and Harold
McCartney in 1977.
Producing three SCU Presidents is a notable achievement for
the town given that Hawick international recognition on the field has been rare
in comparison. Following the Storrie brothers in 1911, the next Teri to be
capped was Norman Davidson in 1951 whilst at Edinburgh University. He was
arguably the best all-round sportsman that Hawick has ever produced. In
addition to his five cricket caps, he also gained seven rugby caps for Scotland
and is the only Hawick & Wilton batsman since the war to score over 1,000
runs in a season.
In 1990 Richard Bannerman gained a Scotland B cap as well as
one at Under 23 level. The most recent Hawick player to play for his country is
Stuart Chalmers who played twice against Canada in 2009. He has also played 17
times at ‘A’ level and twice for Scotland XIs.
Following the Border League win of 1964 there was further
success for Hawick & Wilton in 1967 when they won the Border Knockout Cup
for the first time. The final against Selkirk at Buccleuch Park was tied when
Benny Hartop, snr. struck a single off the last ball of the match. In the
replay at Philiphaugh, it was again Hartop who hit the winning run in the last
over. The team at Hawick was: Jim Domingo, Peter Robertson, Dennis Whitehead,
Peter Paterson-Brown (captain), Bert Marshall, Ronnie James, Raymond Blacklock,
David Johnstone, Eric Grierson, Andrew Pender and Benny M. Hartop. For the
replay, David White, Eli Cunningham and Eric Marshall replaced Blacklock,
Johnstone and Pender.
The early 1970s began with difficulties off-the-field when
the authorities planned to extend the High School to such an extent that they
wanted the whole field. Backed by local support the Club’s resistance was so strong
that after a long drawn out battle, the authorities eventually settled for
taking only part of the field.
The old pavilion with its by now outdated facilities was
replaced in 1975 by a modern building that not only catered for cricket, but
also for tennis and carpet bowling. A new square was laid and a new scoreboard
was included within the pavilion build.
Whilst the 1970s lacked trophy success, the 80s began with a
win at the Border Sixes in 1981. Selkirk were beaten in the final at
Philiphaugh thanks to Bruce Logan (captain), Jim Chalmers, Keith Cunningham,
Benny M. Hartop, David Wright and David Naylor with skipper Logan picking up
the player of the tournament award.
The highest individual score recorded in Hawick cricket
occurred on 12th August 1984 when Benny Hartop, jnr. scored 204 not out at
Buccleuch Park against Edinburgh side Drummond. He hit seven sixes and 22 fours
as Hawick reached an incredible 371 for 8 in only 40 overs.
The following year Hawick won their first 11-a-side
silverware since 1967 defeating Gala in a tense Border Knockout Cup Final,
which was decided on the last ball of the game with the following team: David
Naylor, Bruce Logan, Sandy Wilson, Jim Chalmers (captain), Gary Alexander, David
Wright, Richard Melvin, Benny I. Hartop, Scott Welsh, Ian Fraser and Richard
The 2nd XI won the Border Reserve League in 1988 and in 1989
the Border Indoor Sixes Trophy was lifted when victory was achieved following
yet another last ball win in the final, this time over Penicuik. Team: Keith
Cunningham (captain), Jim Chalmers, David Naylor, Derek Hartop, Richard
Bannerman and Scott Welsh (replaced by Gary Alexander for the final).
Around this time, Hawick & Wilton were a strong team,
often coming close to a first Border League win since 1964 but title success
eluded them on more than one occasion. 1988 and 1989 were the two years they
1988 ended with a third place finish. Crucially the home
fixture with Kelso was played when overnight rain rendered the Buccleuch Park
pitch virtually unplayable. Desperate to play and try to topple the League
favourites, the home club made extreme efforts to get the pitch playable when
most other clubs would probably have called the game off without hesitation.
Disastrously, Hawick were skittled for 34 and Kelso knocked-off the runs
without loss, resulting in Hawick scoring 0 bonus points. The impact on points
percentage from games played was such that Hawick & Wilton would actually
have won the Border League that season had the game not been played.
The 1989 campaign was blighted by tragedy. An eagerly
awaited top of the table clash at Kelso, both teams having 11 wins from 11,
ended in defeat for Hawick. The real tragedy though was after the completion of
the game when Hawick President Adam Grierson collapsed and died on the field.
He continues to be remembered through the Adam Grierson Memorial Quaich awarded
each year to the club member deemed to most deserve it. Losing three out of the
five fixtures played following the Kelso disappointment resulted in a second
Compensation for missing out on Border League titles partly
came in regularly being placed second or third and thus achieving qualification
into the prestigious Scottish Cup, where the standard was much higher than in
the local league. Games took place against many top sides such as Heriots,
Uddingston and Freuchie; teams filled with Scotland internationals and often
The next success was the winning of the Border Outdoor Sixes
at Selkirk in 1994. Victory in the final was achieved over Kelso, the
Tweedsiders’ first loss in the competition for nine years, with the following
team: Scott Welsh (captain), who was awarded player of the tournament, Benny I.
Hartop, Brian Hunter, Gregor Welsh, Andrew Johnston and Gary Alexander.
The 1990s ended with Hawick & Wilton engaging the
services of a paid professional, Stuart Carlisle, for the 1999 season. Carlisle
was a Zimbabwe Test player and represented his country at the 1999 One Day
World Cup held in England.
On reaching 150 years, Hawick & Wilton held a
celebration evening in the clubrooms where historian Ian Landles toasted the
first 100 years and former player Gerald Adams the latter 50 years.
South African Robbie McQueen took over as professional in
2000 and 2001, helping Hawick to victory in the latter year as they won the
Border Knockout Cup by defeating St Boswells at the Green. A 96 run opening
partnership between McQueen and Scott Welsh was pivotal in the Hawick victory.
Team: Robbie McQueen, Scott Welsh, Gregor Welsh, Stuart Chalmers, Jamie
Turnbull, Andy Renwick, Bruce Logan (captain), David Wright, Keith Cunningham,
Allan Moffat and Ryan O’Neill. Skipper Bruce Logan captained the club overall
in eight seasons, the most by an individual in post-war years. He also captained the South of Scotland.
During the 2000s there was a decline in results due to an
ageing team and a lack of younger players coming through. This was addressed at
the grass roots by the introduction of a Hawick primary school league played
under kwik cricket rules, which quickly went from strength to strength, to the
extent that, on Saturday mornings through May and June, 12 teams and close to
100 boys and girls from Hawick , Denholm, Hobkirk and Newcastleton now take
part each week playing for the Johnston Memorial Trophy. Additionally, youth
cricket has developed through various age grade Border Leagues. Most recent
successes include Hawick winning the Border Under 13 League in 2011 and the
Rowan Boland Memorial Trophy for Borders Under 11 teams in 2012. The investment
in primary and youth cricket has borne fruit in recent years with some of the
first players involved in primary cricket making their way into the adult game.
Coaches such as Allan Moffat, Doug Welsh, Andrew Johnston and Bruce MacTaggart,
amongst others, deserve great credit for ensuring a bright future for the game
in the town. Moffat and Welsh were recognised when awared the Roxburgh Sports
Council coaches of the year in 2007.
A strong relationship has developed in recent years between
Hawick & Wilton and Durham County Cricket Club. Trips to Chester-le-Street
are now made every year where Hawick youngsters receive coaching from Durham
staff. Additionally they have formed the guard of honour at Sunday games and
taken part in on-field bowl-offs at T20 matches. In addition, they have
appeared on the field to play mini-games at lunch time at many England
fixtures, the most recent being in August 2013, on the first day of the first
Ashes Test ever to be held at Durham.
One of the biggest changes in the adult game came when the
decision was taken by Hawick & Wilton to join the East of Scotland Cricket
Association set up for the 2012 season. This arose from the more ambitious
Border League clubs aiming to play at a higher level by joining the East
Leagues and Langholm departing to the Eden Valley League to reduce travel
costs. With Border League numbers decimated, Hawick & Wilton had little
option but to follow others to the East Leagues to maintain competitive
cricket. As a result, the Club’s 117 year involvement with the Border League
ended, although it continues in diluted format as a Sunday Development League.
Placed in East League Division 8 for 2012, Hawick &
Wilton clinched the title with a 100% record under captain Allan Moffat
supported by Gary Alexander, Ronan Alexander, Doug Bryant, Dave Currie, Euan
Hair, Stuart Hair, Benny I. Hartop, Andrew Johnston, Craig MacDougall, Bruce
MacTaggart, Phil MacTaggart, Declan Solley, Pierce Solley, Lee Stewart and Neil
A third place finish in Division 7 in 2013 would normally
have meant just missing out on promotion.
However, some changes in the East League’s structure resulted in a
second successive promotion to Division 6 for 2014.
The 2013 season ended on a further high when the SCU
President’s Activcity Plate was lifted after defeating Woodcutters in the final
played at Broomhall. Team: Allan Moffat (captain), Euan Hair, Gary Alexander,
Pierce Solley, Phil MacTaggart, Stuart Hair, Neil Storey, Bruce MacTaggart,
Dave McWatters, Ronan Alexander and Craig MacDougall.
2014 began with the good news that Hawick born Keith Oliver
had been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for his services
to cricket. Son of former double Border
League winner Ramsay, Keith was appointed Chairman of Cricket Scotland in 2002
and in 2010 was elected by the other 105 countries around the world to sit on
the Executive Board of the International Cricket Council (ICC). This is the
highest level of governance in the world game and was a position he held for
With primary, youth and adult cricket all going well, and
with plans for development of a multi sports hub at Buccleuch Park and the
adjoining Volunteer Park rugby ground, the future of the game in the town is in
Fifty Years’ Cricket in Hawick by James Edgar, published
Hawick & Wilton Cricket Club 1849-1949, One Hundred
Years of Cricket