Border League final fiasco causes a bit of a stir

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Debate over the future of the world’s oldest rugby league has flared up once more after Gala were propelled into the Border League final, having only played one game.

At the start of the week Hawick headed the Pool B table, having played two and lost one, to Gala, of their group matches.

But Kelso and Jed-Forest have since told the Border League committee that they are unable to field a full team for their final fixtures against the Maroons so, by default, the Netherdale outfit progress to play Pool A winners Melrose in the final at Berwick on Wednesday, April 23, at 6.30pm.

Club officials are staying rather guarded with regards to this latest development.

Jed president Billy Grieve told The Southern: “The reason I gave to the Border League was that we had players unavailable due to work commitments and too many players injured”, while, by the time of going to print, Kelso had not responded. The Tweedsiders had been scheduled to play their fixture in February, but Gala called off due to having several 1st XV players on international age-group duties.

Borders rugby followers have not been so silent, however, with comments on social media varying between calls for scrapping the league altogether to playing the pool stages as a pre-season warm-up. Some have called the events of this season “shambolic”.

Stuart Cameron, from Borders Rugby TV, commented: “The Border League it is a shadow of what it used to be.

“I hated the pool system and always felt the Border League champions should play everyone else. If that means doubling up on league fixtures and playing pre-season, then that’s what should happen. But if that doesn’t work and it becomes meaningless and unattractive to the players, then I can see very little future for it.”

z Elsewhere this week, Selkirk Rugby Club has appointed Peter Wright as its head coach for next season.

The 46-year-old former Scotland internationalist will take over the 1st XV reins from Ally Dickson, who is stepping down after being involved on the coaching side at Philiphaugh since 2012.

Wright, who has coached Peebles for the past two years, says he is looking forward to a new challenge.

“I know the Selkirk club well, having come to Philiphaugh on many occasions, both as a player and as a visiting coach,” he said.

“Selkirk play rugby with the right attitude and take a positive approach to the game, and this reflects my own outlook.”

Wright won 21 caps for Scotland between 1992-1996, and toured New Zealand with the British & Irish Lions in 1993.

A former club player with both Lasswade and Boroughmuir, in 2005 he coached Glasgow Hawks to a BT Premier League and Cup double.

He has previously taken charge of the Scotland Under-19 and Under-20 teams.