Changes could invigorate Border League

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WE ARE still waiting for news of how the Cup, Shield and Bowl will work. All we know at the moment is that each region in Scotland will have their own competitions to produce a representative from the area to fight out a semi-final game, from which the winner will go to Murrayfield.

For the past year I have suggested that the Border League could do itself a lot of good by reformating itself and becoming an exciting local competition, or series of competitions.

The seven local Premier sides could all play each other, with the winner of the league going through to represent the Borders in the Cup.

The five teams in the National League and East League 1 could battle it out for a place in the Shield semi-final, while our Easty League 2 and 3 teams have their own round-robin competition to see who makes it into the Bowl semi.

This idea would have to be passed by all the clubs, of course, including long-standing members of the Border League, Langholm and Berwick.

My argument is that we must get back to the Border League being high priority again and the pool system, with the inclusion of Haddington, for me, has not worked. It has meant that some clubs don’t get to play each other and we had the ridiculous situation a few years back when the Border League champions were crowned after playing just three games. That really wasn’t ideal. We need to get back to the top teams playing each other in a proper league.

The weather has ruined the last few tournaments as National League and cup matches replaced the designated Border League fixtures, leaving the Border League to fit in games when they could, and usually without much warning on a midweek in front of a handful of people. Cricket scores between Melrose and Langholm and Gala v Berwick did nothing at all for anyone.

With cup dates now available to use, there is a fantastic opportunity to have a structured Border League tournament.

Haddington should be taken out of proceedings, and with the greatest respect to Berwick and Langholm, they would have a far more competitive time aiming for the shield in a Border League Division 2 against teams like Duns, Hawick Linden and Hawick YM. The plusses are enormous with local derbies on designated Saturdays which (weather permitting) are not going to be changed to accommodate other matches. The net result would be quality local derbies, huge media and sponsorship interest, money behind the bar for clubs with the best local sides in action against each other with a place at Murrayfield at stake and a meaningful Border League contest.

It is hard to argue against it!