Peebles look to rule the rankings

Stuart Cameron presents Melrose captain Graeme Dodds with the Team of the Year trophy at the end of last season.
Stuart Cameron presents Melrose captain Graeme Dodds with the Team of the Year trophy at the end of last season.

THIS is the fifth year the Borders Rugby Rankings has taken place and the way things stand at the moment we could see a fourth club having their name engraved on the Team of the Year trophy which was won originally by Hawick YM, followed by Hawick, and then, for two years running, by Melrose.

Any of the eight senior Borders clubs can win the trophy because the criteria is based solely on performances over the 18 games in the Premiership, National League and Championship. Each club competes at its own level over the course of the season and the winner is the club which obtains the most number of league points. Only one of three teams can win it this year, and two of them have never won it.

At the moment, favourites are Peebles, who lead the way on 68 points with two games to play, while Hawick (67) and Gala (65) are the only others who have a chance, but they have only one game left each.

Peebles, following relegation from the top flight last season, have regrouped under Peter Wright with a young, enthusiastic bunch of mainly local players, and have bounced back well. They are currently second to Howe of Fife, but the two meet on Saturday for a showdown which may well have an impact on who gets promoted. One of them will be in the National League next season, but the other will have to start all over again in 2013-14, so there is a lot at stake.

Peebles also lead the way with more tries than any other club this season in the Borders. They have amassed 92 – 20 ahead of Hawick, so it is fair to say they won’t be caught. They have the best attack of any other local senior club with 645 this season – 79 ahead of Hawick – while their defence is 67 points better than second-placed Selkirk.

Peebles’ Greg Raeburn has gone over 200 league points this season and is just 12 points behind Gala’s Lee Millar. Lee has been in the lead all season, but will he be caught on the line?

In the tries contest Hawick’s John Coutts is currently in front with a combination of 17 tries this season in the colours of Hawick and Hawick YM. He has scored three hat-tricks and nine of his touchdowns were for the Redskins. He is one try ahead of Peebles’ Kiwi James Hemara and it’s hard to see anyone else who will get near these two for the win at the end of the season. So the six rankings lists for the senior Borders teams could be topped by Peebles in a clean sweep for the first time ever.

Turning to the East League lists it’s been a good season for both Hawick Linden and Hawick Harlequins. Linden have 57 points with their neighbours on 52, but St Boswells are on their coat tails with 50 league points.

There’s still a few games to play in the East Divisions, so anything can happen and those three have the best attack stats, with Linden edging St Boswells by 32 points.

St Boswells have the best defence, leaking just 171 points this season, but Hawick Quins, Earlston and Gala YM may yet have a say in that category.

Go to www.bordersrugby.net and click on Rankings to view full lists.