It’s all academical as ‘Rose focus on Raeburn contest

Hawick vs Melrose at Mansfield Park, Ali Weir? with ball on head.
Hawick vs Melrose at Mansfield Park, Ali Weir? with ball on head.

It’s tough at the top, so they say, especially when everyone underneath is lining up to knock you off your perch.

Something Melrose coach John Dalziel knows only too well, having played and, most recently, coached at the highest of levels.

And as his side prepares to play third-placed Edinburgh Accies this weekend, the Greenyards guru is not about to let his Premiership-topping team rest on their laurels.

“We are not underestimating the difficulty of the challenge away to Accies,” he told The Southern. “They are a very well organised side with physical forwards and one of the most dangerous back lines in the Premiership.

“This is our second away game on the bounce and we know Raeburn Place is another difficult place to go and get a result. We are focused on how we approach this game, however, and our players need no motivation as they try to defend our unbeaten record.”

Following their bruising encounter against Hawick last weekend, Melrose have a few knocks, but are hoping everyone will recover in time for Saturday.

Summer signing from Eastwoods in Australia, Todd Pearce (hooker) has now arrived at the Greenyards after his club reached the Australian Shute Shield final last Saturday, and he will also be in contention for selection.

Melrose will again be without captain Fraser Thomson who is out for another four to five weeks with a calf injury, while on the positive side Callum Anderson and Andrew Nagel are hopefully only two to three weeks away from fitness.

Over at Netherdale, George Graham and his men await a visit from an increasingly-dangerous Hawick outfit. “We are expecting the game to be a bit of a humdinger,” said the Gala coach.

Another mouth-watering derby will be served up at The Gytes as Selkirk face National League newcomers Peebles.

“It’s vital the boys don’t lose their focus, as the pressure is going to increase significantly from now on,” said Selkirk coach Ali Dickson.

Kelso travel to play Boroughmuir.