Rugby: Swords are drawn for Saturday derby duel

Selkirk coach Cameron Cochrane

Selkirk coach Cameron Cochrane

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An all borders duel between Selkirk and Melrose headlines the final round of the BT Premiership this weekend, with both sides desperate to claim the spoils for differing reasons.

The competition may be over – Melrose comfortably in the play-offs for the second straight year and Selkirk relegated - but no one will tell that to Selkirk coach, Cameron Cochrane, or Melrose’s John Dalziel as both expect the usual border rivalry fire at Philliphaugh on Saturday.

Melrose coach John Dalziel

Melrose coach John Dalziel

“We’re going to go out there and try and put a tough season behind us with a great performance” said Cochrane, who is insists his side are determined to end the season on a high with victory over their rivals.

“What happened this season is in the past. Saturday is our last chance to put on a show for the fans and sort of redeem ourselves, remind people who we are and what we are capable of.

There isn’t much on the line other than local pride but I still expect a great, competitive contest. The focus for both teams will be play some attractive rugby and enjoy ourselves.”

Melrose’s Dalziel echoed his counterpart’s comments, expecting a typically tough border battle but revealed he is hoping to blood some new faces as he looks ahead to a season defining month for the club.

“It’s out last game of the regular season and we want nothing less than going out with a win,” said Dalziel.

“It’s never an easy game against Selkirk and Saturday will be no different.

Since the new year we have been starved of any real consistent playing time so it gives us a chance to hand some minutes to boys who haven’t featured recently. We’ll be looking to get some combinations going with the younger boys while giving some rest to those who have played the past couple of weeks against Hawick and Currie.

When we set-out at the start of this season the play-offs were the target. Now that we are in them it’s important we’re well prepared to make sure we don’t have a repeat of last year.”

After a dreadful 2015/16, Gala have one last chance to save their season when they travel to Malleny Park on Saturday to take on title chasing Currie. A bonus-point victory for the Maroons completes a dramatic about-turn for the Netherdale outfit, moving them out of the relegation play-off places at the expense of Stirling County.

For Hawick, their once promising season spluttered into nothing as the Greens made it back-to-back years missing out on the play-offs. The Mansfield Park men host Ayr on Saturday as they look to end the season on a positive note ahead of the Premiership Development competition and sevens season.

In BT National league division One third placed Jed-Forest travel to Troon to take on second placed Marr in a battle to keep pace with runaway leaders Watsonians as the race for promotion to the Premiership intensifies. Peebles take on Musselburgh at the Gytes while Kelso host Watsonians.