Melrose and Gala to the fore as title race heats up

Hawick vs Melrose at Mansfield Park, Nick Mactaggart with the ball for Hawick.
Hawick vs Melrose at Mansfield Park, Nick Mactaggart with the ball for Hawick.

With six games remaining, it’s still all to play for in the RBS Premiership and this weekend matters kick-off again in earnest.

Melrose have had an agonising few weeks, having had to sit back and watch neighbours Gala retake the lead and then open a gap at the top of the table.

While, in turn, Gala will still be very much aware that they still have the Greenyards outfit to play.

This weekend, both teams see home action with Melrose preparing to take on an in-form Hawick side at the Greenyards. And that, according to director of rugby Mike Dalgetty, is what his team has to focus on.

He told The Southern: “We can’t afford to pay to much attention to what is going on round about us.

“Credit to Gala for what they have achieved over the last few weeks, but we are expecting Hawick to come here on Saturday looking for a win and that’s what we will be focusing on.”

Melrose have influential back row man Graeme Dodds out for the next eight weeks, following a shoulder operation, but are otherwise at full strength.

Gala defeated reigning RBS Premiership champions Ayr last weekend and took home the Bill McLaren Shield in the process, but are refusing to think about the prospect of lifting silverware. After the Millbrae match, coach George Graham said: “I’m going to ban any talk of winning the league from now on because there’s still a number of games to play and lots of things can happen.”

This weekend, the Maroons welcome Glasgow Hawks to Netherdale.

In the National League, Selkirk pick up their promotion quest when travelling to play Stewart’s Melville FP.

The Inverleith outfit are currently sitting in third place but have the same amount of points, 42, as second-placed Watsonians. The Souters are one place further back in fourth with 41 points.

Kelso welcome Dundee to Poynder Park, while Peebles take on top dogs Boroughmuir at Meggetland.

Jed-Forest also have their eye on promotion, not to mention the title, in Championship B, and this weekend play host to Hawick YM. The Riverside men are only four points behind league leaders Musselburgh with a game in hand.