Dundee High coach Colin Sangster is convinced there is no one side in BT National One good enough to get away from the pack and that the promotion battle will remain tight.
Jed-Forest’s win at Falkirk last week made it seven wins from seven for the Border Blues, but Sangster thinks they’re only “slightly better” than they were last year, when they fell away from the chase in the final month.
“We lost heavily down there at Jed but it’s no exaggeration to say that but for a few stupid mistakes it would have been close,” said the High coach, who is gradually seeing a depleted squad replenished with key men from the lengthy injured list.
“The next two weeks will be crucial to us, with GHA away this week and then Edinburgh Accies at home,” he said. “If we can get to the break for the Autumn Internationals still within touching distance we’ll get most of our guys back and be able to make a good run at the top teams.
“I don’t think there’s one outstanding team in the division. The top six teams will all play and beat each other and it’ll level out.”
There might not be much change to positions this week with teams one through five taking on those placed sixth to tenth, the exception being the battle of the bottom two at Inverleith between Howe of Fife and Stewarts Melville – clearly a crucial match for both clubs as they seek to not get detached at the foot of the table.
Hamilton in tenth already have a nine point advantage on both clubs. Howe’s pattern seems to be set when they play the clubs like Edinburgh Accies last week – a strong start, an early lead, but the greater power of the opposition eventually results in a second half slide.
Stewarts Melville picked up a losing bonus separated only by an unconverted try at Selkirk last week, and may have a little momentum going into what is a must-win home game for them.
Kirkcaldy picked up a bonus in defeat to Preston Lodge which sees them move to 16 points in National Two, but they could easily jump a few places if they’re able to get a win at Biggar.
Perthshire got a bonus themselves in National Three in a tight one against Lasswade, and now head to RHC at Union Park, the team who lie one place and two points above them.
A victory would take them out of the bottom three less than a month after they had no points and seemed detached at the foot of the table.
Strathmore produced a superb victory at Countesswells to end Gordonian’s unbeaten run in Caledonia One and to move into third as Glenrothes and Alloa drew at Earlsfield.
Caithness toughed out a win at Dunfermline to stay top and are back in the Kingdom this week against Glens at Carleton Park. Strathie host Alloa, while Harris, buoyant after two successive wins, host Dunfie for the first time at Elliot Road.
Grangemouth Stags are well in in front in Caley Two Midlands although Hillfoots, having played two fewer matches, are the only unbeaten team.
Dundee University Medics’ win at Waid allowed Madras to take over at the top of Caley Midlands Three North, while in the South Stirling County III/Bridgehaugh are still out in front.
BT League matches this weekend:
National League One: GHA v Dundee HSFP, Stewarts Melville v Howe of Fife.
National League Two: Biggar v Kirkcaldy.
National League Three: RHC v Perthshire.
Caledonia Division One: Strathmore v Alloa, Caithness v Glenrothes, Aberdeen Wanderers v Gordonians, Harris Academy FP v Dunfermline, Mackie Academy FP v Carnoustie HSFP.
Caledonia Division Two Midlands: Panmure v Blairgowrie, Crieff & Strathearn v Howe of Fife II, Falkirk II v Kinross, Morgan Academy FP v Hillfoots, Kirkcaldy II v Grangemouth Stags.
Caledonia Division Three Midlands North: Stobswell v Angus Development, Perthshire v Aberfeldy, Waid Academy FP v Arbroath, Dundee University Medics v Madras Rugby.
Caledonia Division Four Midlands South: Grangemouth II v Hillfoots II, Glenrothes II v Bannockburn, Stirling County III v Bo’ness.