A BREAK in the international schedule this weekend gives local clubs a chance to pick up their league campaigns and for two local outfits in particular the outcomes are crucial.
Last weekend Gala came from behind to beat Aberdeen by a single point, leaving them just two points shy of Premiership leaders Ayr with only three games remaining.
This weekend they face Dundee at Netherdale where a bonus point is a must for the mighty Maroons.
Gala utility forward Craig Keddie told us: “I think we just need to concentrate on putting in a performance, that’s been kind of deserting us of late.”
Melrose also lost by a point, at home to Edinburgh Accies in their Premiership game, and this week travel to Meggetland to play table props Boroughmuir.
With the league now down to a two-horse race between Ayr and Gala, the focus for Melrose is on securing a third or fourth position that would let them retain their place in the British & Irish Cup next season. President John Reed commented: “This will be another tough game but there will be a strong focus in the build-up on what we need to do.”
In the league below last weekend, Hawick took a giant step towards Premiership promotion, beating Hillhead/Jordanhill at Hughenden.
After trailing 13-3 in the first half, Phil Leck’s Green Machine clawed their way back to a 32-23 victory, scoring five tries in the process, to extend their lead at the top of the table.
If they beat Glasgow Hawks at home in two weeks, they will almost be guaranteed promotion back to the Premiership.
This weekend, Hawick travel to Laigh Bent where Hamilton, a team still desperately trying to keep themselves away from the relegation zone, lie in wait.
Watsonians’ home defeat by Stewarts Melville virtually puts them out of the running for promotion while Selkirk’s 22-21 defeat at Hamilton put an end to any hopes they had of making it up to the top flight.
This weekend, the Souters travel to Riverside Park where they will face a tough challenge against Jed-Forest who are still battling to get themselves off the foot of the National League table.
In another home fixture, Kelso play host to Hillhead Jordanhill at Poynder Park.
One league below, in Championship Division B, an all-guns-blazing encounter between Hawick YM and Peebles is expected at Mansfield Haugh.
Peebles are only a point below leaders Howe of Fife with five games remaining and must fancy their chances of promotion. Currently in fourth, with seven games to play, however YM may just be looking to spoil the party.