Ayr we come again ... Melrose make for Millbrae

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To John Dalziel’s mind, his Melrose team have been guilty of squandering plenty of winning positions this season.

But nothing grates quite so much as losing out on a home BT Premiership semi-final play-off place to this weekend’s opponents Ayr.

Dalziel’s side lost 13-14 last weekend to the Millbrae men (see report on page 103), thus dropping down to third in the table, with Ayr moving up to second.

The head coach conceded that missing out on the chance at hosting one of this weekend’s Premiership play-off semi-final games was disappointing, but believes the defeat has removed some complacency from his charges as they prepare for the defence of their crown.

“Statistically, we dominated Saturday’s game, but when it counted we didn’t get the job done and Ayr took their chances,” he told The Southern.

“It is massively disappointing and a definite missed opportunity, because we would have loved to give our supporters a home semi-final game.

“Now we have to travel up the road to them (Ayr) which won’t be an easy task, but confidence levels within the squad are still very high.

Dalziel, who last week was named as assistant coach to Sean Lineen for the Barbarians side who will take on Premiership leaders Heriot’s at Goldenacre on Tuesday, April 21, added: “The (Ayr) result could actually end up being a good thing for us because there was a bit of complacency sneaking into our form.

“For about a month now, our performances have been indifferent, with some good showings alongside sub-par ones.

“Last week’s result will hopefully show the boys that it is now stand-up-and-be counted, do-or-die time and they need to be playing at their highest level for a full 80-minutes to stand any chance at retaining our league title.”

In the Booker Borders League, Hawick, who triumphed over Gala last weekend, remain on course for a first title in nearly a decade.

The Greens are unbeaten and can claim the trophy with victory over Peebles tomorrow night at Mansfield Park (7.30pm).

“It has been one step at a time for us this season, so to be in a position of lifting some silverware, it is a big achievement,” said assistant coach Gordon Henderson this week.

“We are not champions yet, and we are certainly not looking past Peebles, who will not just hand us the trophy.

“It will be a hard game, but if we prepare right and have a good mindset, then we should be good.”