Stirling County did what they needed to beat Hawick for the first time in three meetings last week, but a losing bonus point against them could prove costly when it comes to the Premier One league split in three weeks.
County were down to 13 men and a late try got the Greens to within two points, leaving them three behind County in the table with three games to play before the bottom four are sliced off into the second part of the season playing the top four from Premier Two.
County’s three fixtures are demanding, beginning with Currie at Bridgehaugh, just as the champions start to put the puzzling start to their season behind them, then following with high-flying Ayr and Melrose in quick succession.
Currie were ambushed more than once this term, with the draw against West two weeks ago one of the most unexpected results of the year, while Melrose and Dundee, two sides with a running game like County’s, have also proved that it’s possible to score points against them.
Hawick’s run-in is only scarcely easier, with Hawks, Currie and finally Selkirk, and it could be bonus points that determines who stays in the bottom three.
Boroughmuir were unbeaten league leaders only a few short weeks ago but three successive defeats underlined the suspicion they had a reasonably easy schedule in the early going, and they as well as Heriot’s are not yet clear of the bottom four.
They host a buoyant Dundee HSFP at Meggetland this week and, while the teams are on the same points, there’s no question which of the two teams has the momentum going forward, with Dundee averaging five tries and 35 points a game.
New Kiwi stand-off Rick McKenna shows every sign of having settled in with tries in his first two starts for the club and a willingness to get the backline moving, but it was the pack who really impressed last week with Andy Linton looking a prime capture at lock and Richie Hawkins stealing the headlines with his truly outrageous hat-trick.
Dundee could even afford to rest one of their biggest weapons, tight-head Alan Brown, and barely notice last week, but he’s likely to be back for ‘Muir.Kirkcaldy chasing a winKirkcaldy welcomed back talismanic No 8 Craig Wilson last week and last season’s division two player of the year last year duly swatted aside tacklers for two tries but couldn’t prevent a defeat at Biggar.
The prospects are better against GHA, just a point ahead of the Blues and the visitors to Beveridge Park tomorrow.
With title-chasing Gala and Falkirk to come before the split, it’s a match Kirkcaldy could well do with winning to set them up for the second half.
In Premier Three, it’s worrying to see three of the four Midlands clubs in three of the bottom four places, with Dunfermline seemingly adrift at the bottom.
Dunfie are away to Haddington, one of three sides sharing the second relegation slot on 11 points, and the others are Morgan and Perthshire, who host the top two teams in the division this week.
Morgan welcome league leaders Whitecraigs, a team right up from the National Leagues clearly accustomed to the winning habit, although only three times out of their six wins have they picked up the try bonus.
The Dundee side are looking to arrest a four-game losing streak, but are at home for only the second time in a month.
‘Shire were edged out by Musselburgh away last week but have a tough one in unbeaten Hamilton, who lie only a point behind the leaders.
Howe of Fife are solidly in mid-table and ruthlessly despatched Haddington last week, but go to Cartha QP, the sort of team they struggle to match in size and power away from home.
Strathmore lead Caledonia League One but have a challenge from Hillfoots, who have racked up four out of five bonus point wins since losing at home the league leaders.
Madras, relegated by the misfortune of an unregistered player last year, took control of Caley Two Midlands last week with a big win at Carnoustie and see a largely unguarded path to the play-offs, starting with Arbroath at home.
Caley Three Midlands sees the rematch of top two Panmure and Montrose at Forthill, with the Ferry team seeking revenge for the bonus point loss earlier this year.