2015 ends, for Scottish club rugby at least, this week and for Dundee HSFP a mixed year as a whole looks like ending on something of a highpun intended.
Last week’s dominating 32-6 win at Duffus Park leaves High in third place, 15 points behind Watsonians in first. And while that looks like a forlorn chase even if they are the only team to beat the leaders at Myreside this year Marr in second place are much more reachable just five points in front.
High could make up a little ground this week before the festive break as Peebles, now detached at the bottom of BT National League One, are the visitors to Mayfield, although Marr take on second- bottom Kelso.
The next meeting of the clubs isn’t until the scheduled final day of the season on March 26. In the meantime, Dundee are slowly getting over a mini-injury crisis with centres Tim McKavanagh and Neil Herron the only players out long-term.
Even better, Colin Sangster has been able to give playing time to new talent such as 20-year-old lock Conor Wood, who made his debut for the first XV against Howe last week and scored two tries. Euan Fox, this year’s Dundee High School playmaker, also made an appearance off the bench.
With the Titans second XV running in over 70 points against Cartha in their fixture last week, things look pretty bright at Mayfield at present.
Howe are licking their wounds after surrendering the Rankin Rosebowl last week, their fourth loss in a row and third in succession at Duffus, which was such a fortress for them in recent years.
The extra power of opposing teams is starting to tell in heavier conditions, but there’s still enough talent there to stop the slide before the club regroups over Christmas and New Year.
There’s a tough test to end 2015 against GHA, who lie just a place and five points below them in seventh place in the league.
Despite a crushing loss at Falkirk last week, Kirkcaldy stay seventh in National two, with a good shout of putting more distance between themselves and the relegation zone this week.
Ardrossan can be tough visitors, however, having pushed runaway leaders Hamilton all the way just last month. The Ayrshiremen usually have a sizeable pack but the Blues have some quality in the backline to give them problems.
Perthshire lost by the odd point in 25 to Livingston last week, the bonus point keeping them in fifth but well back of the promotion places in National League Three. They beat this week’s visitors West of Scotland at Burnbrae back in September but West have won five of their last six to move ahead of Shire in the standings.
The Caledonia One year ends with a bang with what could be a crunch meeting of Glenrothes and Gordonians at Carleton Park.
The 61-3 victory of the Aberdeen side at Countesswells in the third round of games looks like an outlier now, with Glens having won all their games since.
Gordonians still lead the table by 10 points having played two games more, and of course Highland, at home to Carnoustie this week, are likely to have a big say in the title race during 2016.
Harris’ lead in Division Two Midlands is now ten points but Alloa have now three games in hand to play. Both sides are away this week against teams in the bottom three.