Melrose head coach John Dalziel is challenging his side to set the standard against Ayr on Saturday as the BT Premiership enters a crucial period.
Melrose have held the edge over their west-coast heavyweight rivals in recent meetings and Dalziel wants his side to use Saturday to prove their title credentials.
“The season’s at that point where we need to find a new gear and start separating ourselves from the pack,” he said.
“There are seven games remaining and I want to be hitting top form.
“It starts against Ayr, who we’ve had good results against recently but present a huge test if we want to reach our long-term targets.”
After yet another loss last weekend Gala face the reality of relegation from the Premiership for the first time since the club gained promotion to Scotland’s top flight in 2010.
The Maroons face a must-win home game against Glasgow Hawks, who soundly dispatched them 43-24 when they two faced-off at Old Anniesland at the beginning of the season.
Selkirk also are starting to lose hope after Stirling County inflicted yet more pain in a 21-31 defeat.
In isolation, the County result would be no disaster with seven round’s remaining but in the context, it felt like another big blow. This weekend the Souters face Heriots at Goldenacre.
Fourth placed Hawick are celebrating not just short-term victories over local rivals Melrose and Gala in consecutive weeks but an exciting era of thriving instead of just surviving.
The Robbie Dyes travel to Stirling County on Saturday with the aim of closing the gap on those above them while throwing down the gauntlet to the chasing pack.
In National League One, Jed travel north to face Aberdeen Grammar while Peebles and Kelso hope home ties against Edinburgh Accies and Stewarts Melville yield positive results as they look to move away from the relegation places.