New campaign starts with derby delight and cluster of top games
The area's rugby clubs have been carefully scrutinising the new national league fixtures recently announced by Scottish Rugby for the 2018-19 season in the newly-sponsored Tennent's Leagues.
And there is a cracking Borders derby with which to start the new Premiership season – the last before the advent of the Super 6 structure, which will transform Scottish club rugby .
Defending league and cup champions Melrose will begin their double defence with a visit to geographical rivals Hawick on September 1.
The two had contrasting fortunes last season and it somehow seems fitting that a new campaign should start with a Borders-flavoured face-off.
There is plenty of opening-day intrigue in Tennent’s National League Division 1 as well. Newly-promoted Kirkcaldy and Hamilton travel to face Borders opposition, with Kirkcaldy visiting Selkirk and the Lanarkshire side heading to Gala.
Kelso are at home to Musselburgh, while Jed-Forest, whose superb campaign in 2017-18 came unstuck in a torrid Premiership play-off with Glasgow Hawks, face the lengthy trip to Aberdeen Grammar.
Tennent’s National League Division 2 kicks off with league newcomers Glasgow Accies travelling to Peebles, after taking the second-top spot in last season’s National League 3.
The first round of Tennent’s National League Division 3 sees St Boswells, who made a valiant bid for promotion last term, play host to rivals from Glasgow’s west end, in Hillhead/Jordanhill.
The structure of the Tennent’s Premiership and Tennent’s National Leagues 1, 2 and 3 remain the same as last season.
The top two finishers in the Tennent’s Premiership earn a home semi-final against the two teams finishing in third and fourth place.
The highest placed winner from the semi-finals will then become the host of the final, where the Tennent’s Premiership league champions will be decided.