Boxing Day derbies set to thrill

Two local Boxing Day derbies promise to be real Christmas crackers for rugby fans, writes Mark Entwistle.

Melrose director of rugby Mike Dalgetty is hoping his side can spoil another festive season party at Netherdale and break Gala’s run of victories in Waverley Cup games, traditionally competed for by the two near rivals at this time of year.

The Maroons have lifted the trophy three times in a row and with this year’s game at Netherdale, will be confident of making it four.

Commenting ahead of the game, Dalgetty says only bragging rights might be at stake, but added: “It’s the last game before we head for cup duty at Hawks, so it’s important preparation for what will definitely be a real challenge,” he said.

After wins over Ayr and Gala in recent weeks, Hawick are favourites for their Boxing Day Skelly Cup/Border League clash with Jed-Forest at Riverside Park.

Greens head coach Nikki Walker told us: “The priority at the start of the season for us was the league, but we’re not taking our eye off the Border League or BT Cup.”

Asked if he was comfortable with the favourites tag, he replied: “Whenever you play Borders rivals it’s always going to be a hard game, and this will be no different.”