Yet, although the Riverside Park club have languished in the intervening period - and have slipped into the RBS Scottish Championship League B division - Hughes remains committed to ensuring Jed eyes are smiling again.
Last weekend, the squad travelled to the north-east for a hard-fought, but ultimately emphatic 31-10 victory against Aberdeenshire, duly maintaining their 100% record in the competition, establishing a three-point lead over second-placed Musselburgh and, perhaps more significantly, building an 11-point advantage in front of Howe of Fife in third position. Hughes recognises that his small squad has been forced to scrap - with three of their seven successes by eight points or fewer - but, fuelled by an ambitious coaching triumvirate also involving Barrie and Chris Dewsnap, a resilient, close-knit ensemble of players, captained by Robert Hogg, and a energetic youth development programme throughout Jedburgh, they are moving in the right direction. But not, according to Hughes, without evidence that rugby numbers are shrinking in Scotland.
"We need to give opportunities for the lads who come along to training to take part in matches on Saturdays, but our last three Second XV games have been called off, whether due to a shortage of players at other clubs or lack of referees, and it is a real concern, not only for us, but for Scottish rugby," said Hughes. "It is crucifying us as a club, but it also shows you how many other organisations are having problems. When I was playing at Jed, and we are not going that far back, we would be putting out five teams at weekends and I can't remember many occasions where fixtures were getting cancelled, and certainly not at this time of the year.
"We have lost a few lads to other sides, because of falling down to the championship, with one or two moving to Gala, to Newcastle, or into the Scottish sevens ranks, but we have been lucky so far that injuries haven't really affected us and there is a brilliant spirit among the boys. But we know the score: we have to get back up to the Scottish National League and we have to do it as quickly as possible. That means keeping our form going and never letting our guard slip for a moment, because this is a tough division."
Hughes can't afford to be too caught up in times past. Yes, he recalls the days when he and Armstrong, Gregor McKechnie and Roy Laidlaw used to elicit throaty howls of satisfaction from their aficionados. However, nothing stands still, and Jed-Forest are concentrating on what they anticipate will be two pivotal encounters, at home to Livingston, followed by an away trip to Musselburgh on October 19.
"I still feel we are on the edge of something special. We have produced some good 20-minute bursts in matches, and if we can perform to the same standard for 60 to 70 minutes in any games, then our opponents had better watch out," said Hughes. "But we face some hard journeys and we realise we are there to be shot at. I back the lads, but I reckon they will be pretty tired by the end of the campaign."
Scotland's grassroots organisations are, in many cases, fighting for their lives. They are not asking for favours, or hand-outs, but, especially in the Borders, disillusionment reigns in many quarters. It will be up to such stalwarts as Hughes to dispel the gloom and regain the force as the Jed nights draw in!
Team of the week
Glasgow Hawks have adapted swiftly to life upon returning to the RBS Premiership and demonstrated their potential with a seven-try demolition of Currie at Malleny Park, to push the visitors into sixth in the standings. The 48-15 result both reflected the losers' woes and highlighted the good job which Jamie Dempsey is doing at Anniesland.
The British & Irish Cup kicks off again on Saturday and Ayr, Gala, Stirling County and Edinburgh Accies will be striving to do themselves proud on the cross-border stage. Two of the proudest names in British club rugby, Accies and Pontypridd meet at Raeburn Place. Will it be an occasion to savour or a reminder of how much the clubs have been eviscerated by professionalism?