Some might be slightly surprised with Howe of Fife’s success in BT National League One so far, but the team are actually kicking themselves that they’ve not done better.
Howe got another bonus point victory over fellow promoted side Musselburgh at Duffus Park last week to move into third place, just a point behind Marr and five behind leaders Watsonians, with just over a third of the season played.
It is a great performance by a club at this height in the league pyramid for the first time, but Howe think they could have been unbeaten had circumstances been tweaked a little.
Their only heavy defeat in the league was at Marr on the weekend of Scotland’s World Cup clash with South Africa at Newcastle, and tickets bought for that match meant it was a significantly understrength team that went to Troon and lost 52-19.
But the one that really rankles is the other loss, to Stewart’s Melville at Inverleith on the opening day. At the time it looked like a decent result bonus point away from home against a side that had challenged strongly for promotion in the last seasons but the Edinburgh side were propping up the table until last week’s win over GHA, and it now looks like one that got away.
Still, it’s a lesson that whatever the opposition the club shouldn’t settle for anything, a good reminder with Peebles, the side that replaced Stewart’s Melville at the foot of the league, the visitors to Duffus in a second straight home game this week.
Meanwhile Dundee HSFP were without key men in Duncan Leese, Hamish Livingstone and Danny Levison last week at Jed but still felt that, with a 16-8 half-time advantage, they should have had enough on the paddock to get their sixth successive win.
A losing bonus point after veteran former club international Fraser Harkness’ solo try effectively won it for Jed was scant consolation as they dropped to fourth.
Getting back on board at Stoneyhill against Musselburgh will not be easy, the East Lothian side giving as good as they got at Duffus last week until a drop in intensity in the final quarter cost them at least a bonus.
Kirkcaldy left Cartha last week in National Two with a try bonus point, their fourth in eight games, showing that getting across the whitewash hasn’t been their problem so far.
The Blues lie second from bottom with a seven-point gap to tomorrow’s hosts Lasswade and could well do with a boost ahead of two winnable matches coming up: at home to Whitecraigs and away to winless Greenock Wanderers.
Perthshire dropped to fifth in National three after being edged at East Kilbride, leaving them eight points off the promotion pace.
There’s not much in terms of quality between the six or seven sides in midtable, so Shire’s home advantage should tell against RHC on Saturday.
It is the second round of the shield and bowl competitions in regional rugby with some great ties in the shield, not least a return match between Strathmore and Dunfermline after Strathie went to McKane Park in the league last week and produced a surprise 8-3 victory.
Glenrothes moved level at the top of Caledonia One last week due to Gordonians’ heavy loss at Highland, and the Glens are away at Lossiemouth. Carnoustie host Caithness.