Having taken two points away from Malleny Park as a result of a second 10-try thriller in as many weeks, there isn’t likely to be any relief on the heart rates at Mayfield this week, as Ayr come to Dundee HSFP.
Last year’s epic 22-21 victory over the men in pink really kick-started Dundee’s campaign back in Premier One that eventually saw them finish fourth, but that win was founded on set-piece domination and magnificent defence.
While the first is not far away, defence has been lacking in the early part of the season.
Still, there’s not been much wrong with the attack as 10 tries, seven from the backs, have proved in the last two weeks.
Even the most one-eyed observer at Millbrae (and there are more than a few to choose from) thought that Ayr were lucky to beat Melrose last week so Dundee have to strike hard now, as two home losses will mean getting into the top eight and the battle for British and Irish Cup places a very tall order indeed.
Stirling County were brought back down to earth after their opening-day win at Mayfield when they were comfortably handled by Heriot’s at Bridgehaugh, and this week’s test is no less formidable in Old Anniesland to face a Glasgow Hawks team that may be the most improved in the division.
The youthful County side did take the lead with Sean Kennedy’s second try in two weeks but were gradually ground down by a Heriot’s side intent on making last year’s disappointing campaign into a mere blip.Facsimile DundeeCounty did welcome back Danny Gilmour to action last week and tomorrow he will be up against Hawks’ new signing Dean Kilbrick, a two-try scorer against Watsonians who hails from Dundee the KwaZulu-Natal version in South Africa, that is.
With Mike Adamson back at Hawks after his international sevens flirtation and the Gossman brothers being talked up as new stars, this may be the best Hawks back division since the glory days of Tommy Hayes and Glenn Metcalfe.
Kirkcaldy’s start to their Division Two campaign could hardly have gone worse with losses to Borders outfits Peebles and Kelso, but there are signs of what is ahead in the outstanding form of number eight Matt Harvey and the development of teenage flanker Dayle Turner, a try-scorer at Poynder Park.
However, the third Border assignment in successive weeks sees Jed-Forest come to Beveridge Park having made a solid start, being just edged by title favourites Gala last weekend.
Most impressive of the performances on the opening day of Division Three last week was Perthshire’s crushing win over Haddington, suggesting that the optimistic noises coming out of the Fair City this season may have some substance.
Shire’s next assignment is Glasgow’s south side to take on Cartha QP.
Howe of Fife were surprisingly well beaten by new boys Whitecraigs in Newton Means and will look to bounce back with Musselburgh the visitors to Duffus Park.
Whitecraigs, meanwhile, head to McKane Park to take on a Dunfermline side edged at Forfar Road last week by Morgan, who relied on the ever-reliable boot of Graeme Kiddie, whose four penalty successes proved key.
Morgan are away to Motherwell to take on Dalziel, who like Whitecraigs made a successful bow in Premier rugby, beating Dumfries by a single point away.
A strong pointer as to who will dominate Caledonia League One this year should come in the second weekend’s play with Hillfoots, newly down from the National Leagues, taking on Strathmore, who were only a point away from making a trip in the opposite direction. Both teams won their openers last week with Hillfoots’ crushing of Ross Sutherland up north being the pick of the wins.
Blairgowrie lead Division Two by virtue of a bonus-point win over Kinross but the big match this weekend is probably the clash of Carnoustie and Alloa at Shanwell Road.
The new Division Three, which should be a competitive and entertaining scrap between six sides, gets under way this weekend.
Weekend SRU league matches:
Premier One Dundee HSFP v Ayr, Glasgow Hawks v Stirling County.Premier Two Kirkcaldy v Jed-Forest.Premier Three Howe of Fife v Musselburgh, Cartha QP v Perthshire, Dalziel v Morgan, Dunfermline v Whitecraigs.Caledonia One Stirling University v Aberdeen University, St Andrews University v Harris Academy FP, Grangemouth v Glenrothes, Hillfoots v Strathmore, Ross Sutherland v Mackie Academy FP.Caledonia Midlands Two Fife Southern v Blairgowrie, Madras v Kinross, Carnoustie HSFP v Alloa, Crieff and Strathearn v Arbroath.Caledonia Midlands Three Bannockburn v Panmure, Waid Academy FP v Stobswell, Atholl v Montrose and District.