Club Rugby Is Back

There’s that feeling that the sun is out again. It’s at your back as you emerge from your cave, beating down as you wipe the last remnants of hibernation from your eyes. You’ve had your fill of rugby analysis shows on the box and you’ve had enough political discussions over Christmas puddings to know that you want to get back out there again.

Club rugby is back.

The narrative is more clearly defined now. There are three sections, A, B, C. In A the champions Melrose have lost three on the bounce in recent times and have lost influential player/coach John Dalziel for the season after rushing him back too soon from a suspected collarbone fracture. Behind them are seven other teams. Some are happy just to be safe from relegation, but others are hungry to push for British & Irish Cup inclusion or even to go for the biggest prize.

In B it will be a weekly skirmish. Those eight teams have more of a stark remit: get one of those two Premiership places or slip into the oblivion of the second tier.

There is a broad spectrum of histories, agendas and ability in that Premier B, but in a shortened run with so much at stake form and history mean very little. The oft regurgitated line is that every game in such a scenario represents a Cup final. In this case, however, it is more like a World Series. Seven games to attain the most coveted of prizes. A spot at the top.

The challenge in Premier C is that of beating the cull. Every club has the odds stacked against them and the fear of being proclaimed part of the regional competitions will be propelling the teams involved. There is a prestige that comes from being in the new Premiership or National League and to be forced to slide into any regional competition means it is that little bit harder to crawl back to the summit.

I would urge you to go out and watch a club game this Saturday. Edinburgh play on Friday night and Glasgow Warriors play on Sunday. There is no excuse if you are a fan of fascinating, fraught rugby. A lot of change is happening in Scottish Club rugby and you could bear witness to moments when it all burst back into action.

Here are the fixtures for this weekend:

Premier A:

Aberdeen Grammar v Gala
14:00 at Rubislaw

Ayr v Stirling County
14:00 at Millbrae

Currie v Boroughmuir
14:00 at Malleny Park

Melrose v Dundee High
14:00 at The Greenyards

 

Premier B:

Glasgow Hawks v Hamilton
15:00 at Old Anniesland

Hawick v Stewart’s Melville FP
14:00 at Mansfield Park

Jed-Forest v Edinburgh Accies
14:00 at Riverside

Watsonians v Heriot’s Rugby Club
15:00 at Myreside

 

Premier C:

Kelso v Peebles
14:00 at Poynder Park

Hillhead/Jordanhill v Falkirk
14:00 at Hughenden

West of Scotland v Biggar
14:00 at Burnbrae

Selkirk v Whitecraigs
14:00 at Philiphaugh

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Dundonian Alan has played rugby all over the world for various teams including Dundee High School, Heriot's and the Scottish Club International. Now writing from London he covers all issues international and unreported.

7 comments on “Club Rugby Is Back

  1. Moody Blue on

    I’m usually a West coast club rugby watcher but I found myself in Edinburgh yesterday and popped along to Myreside for the first time in many years, and enjoyed watching the Watsonians v Heriots game.

    A decent crowd & with quite a lot of ex-players watching, no doubt aided by the lunch beforehand…I spotted Euan Kennedy, Grant Wilson, Jim Calder, and Simon Cross among others. However this trio caught my eye at different points of the game. Up in the back row of the stand chatting to a friend, ANDY IRVINE, down on the front row as a guest of honour, IAN McGLAUGHLIN, and over in the corner by the gate in animated conversation FINLAY CALDER. Got me wondering if Scotland’s 3 greatest ever rugby players were all at one game? No doubt there will be some who will want to argue Hastings or Broon or Renwick would gatecrash that particular category. But the other thing that struck me was that these 3 greats were all in the same crowd as myself – who never got beyond the ‘B’ team at school – because we have this in common. We all love the game.

  2. Big D on

    MB, I’m another Westie who took in this game. You missed Roger Baird and Ian Milne from your list.

    Not the best match I’ve seen, error strewn and scrappy in bits. Heriots early scrum hits gave them set piece advantage, Watsonians tried to run every first phase ball wide landing them in bother time after time.

    Oh Alan, you need to update your pic on here, you’ve aged a wee bit since this one was taken!

  3. Alan Dymock on

    Big D may be trying to bait me! He may also be eluding to a *bit* of hair loss and a few additional scars. Would you believe I’m only 24?… hope you mean early but not illegal?!

    Moody Blue: Glad you enjoyed the game. Not the most exciting of matches, but certainly fun to play in (before limping off).

    Game of the weekend had to be Melrose losing at home to Dundee, though. ‘Rose thought they had it wrapped up at half time, threw on some subs and were then shocked as High roared back, dominating their forwards in the second half. Hopefully Borders rugby TV have some highlights because according to my father, who watched it, it was a cracker. Dundee won for the first time down there and they will take some beating for the rest of the season. Few scrum in Scotland comes close to theirs in the club game.

  4. Big D on

    Say hello to yer faither Alan, I’ve always enjoyed my chats with him. The way you are ageing, it’ll be difficult to tell senior from junior in a few years.

    And yes I did mean early. Mind you, first scrum your backside was so far out it was in a different post code! Hope your leg is OK, and keep up the scrum dominance, its always good to watch.

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