Border Amateur select team match called off

THE Border Amateur League select team’s match against the Lothian and Edinburgh Amateur team at Netherdale this Sunday has been postponed.

The game, however, is expected to rescheduled, giving the players a chance to represent and the league and raise its profile.

It is the first Border Amateur League select side to be picked in a decade, and the co-managers hope its resurrection can lead to national recognition.

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Steven Noble and Paul Graham will lead out the best players from the 36-team league against a formidable Lothian and Edinburgh Amateur outfit when a new date is agreed.

Noble, coach at Gala Rovers, and Graham, manager of South Cup holders Leithen Rovers, believe the match can only serve to raise the profile of an association which has its critics.

Graham told us: “If the team can compete then it may get people to sit up and take notice. The Borders maybe has this stigma of being a poor league, but the select side will hopefully rise to the occasion and prove them wrong.”

Graham and Noble were asked to set up the select squad 10 years after the last side faced Newcastle and Berwick Rangers XIs.

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Each BAL team was asked to put forward three names for trials, attracting 48 players, and Noble and Graham, along with help from Tam Williamson of Tweeddale Rovers, then picked a final squad of 20.

A total of 11 teams are represented, with Gala Rovers star striker Des Sutherland replaced by team-mate Jamie Collins because of injury.

Noble said: “It was good for us to get the chance to look at some of the players from the B and C divisions who we had never seen before – and there has been two or three hidden gems who have come through and made the final cut.”

Graham added: “The oldest player we have is 30 and the rest are teens or twenties, which is good. There is a bond developing between the players and I’m sure when the game comes round they will be willing to fight for each other.”

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Both coaches are expecting a tough first outing against a Lothian and Edinburgh squad who beat Central League Select – containing top amateur sides from the Glasgow area such as Drumchapel and Colville Park.

But the pair hope the match can lead to bigger things for the side and players involved.

Graham told us: “Lothian and Edinburgh side have a lot of quality and broader selection of players to chose from. It is going to be good for us to pit ourselves against them as they arguably could be one of the best select sides in the country.

“The thoughts are that if this is a success we could bring in games against Dumfries and other league select sides.”

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Noble said: “If we do play those teams it gives the players some exposure. Gala Rovers played Ashvale Victoria (from Central League) in the Scottish Cup earlier this season and their goalie had just come back from playing for the Scottish amateur team in the Czech Republic.

“It would be great if one of our guys got picked for the Scotland select. It is something for them to aspire to.”

Border Amateur League squad: Goalkeepers - Chris Watson (Leithen Rovers), Steven King (Gala Rovers). Defenders - Ryan Grant (Gala Rovers), Matt Scott (Newtown), Brian Lugton (West Barns Star), Campbell Forsyth (Linton Hotspur), Ben Maxwell (Hearts of Liddesdale), Colin Smith (Leithen Rovers), Andrew Maltman (Hawick Waverley. Midfielders - Grant Robinson (Ancrum), Alistair Little (Langholm Legion), Nick Rogers (Tweeddale Rovers), Taylor Hope (Hawick Waverley), Callum Jardine (Gala Rovers), Ross Nisbet (Linton Hotspur), Stephen Swanston (Newtown). Forwards - Dean McColm (Hawick Waverley), Grant Wilson (Tweeddale Rovers), Callum Hope (Hawick Legion), Jamie Collins (Gala Rovers).

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