Rugby: Anxious times for Borders clubs

John Dalziel readies Melrose for a season-defining trip to Selkirk on Saturday as he aims to finally seal a place for his side in the BT Premiership play-off series.

Thursday, 11th February 2016, 5:00 am
Melrose coach John Dalziel

Sitting comfortably in second place for the majority of the season, Melrose have slipped to fourth after a run of three losses in five.

The Greenyards outfit can guarantee themselves a place in the top four with victory at Philiphaugh on Saturday a feat head coach Dalziel insists will be no easy task.

“The pressure is off Selkirk because they’re already relegated and they’ll be looking to end with a positive result, making this game much more challenging,” said Dalziel, who is currently splitting his time between the Scotland under-20 camp and his Melrose side.

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“I have always thought we pride ourselves on our big game performances and Saturday is a big game.

Ideally we wouldn’t be in this situation, wrapping up our play-off place long ago. It’s been a weird season this year with long stretches of games then nothing but confidence remains high and we go to Selkirk knowing we control our own destiny.”

Gala can complete their miraculous turnaround from relegation play-off certainties to league safety with a victory over surprise title contender Currie at Malleny Park, Balerno, on Saturday.

The Maroons require a Stirling County loss – away to Heriots – while also defeating a Currie side who haven’t lost since mid-November.

“Just need a win, that’s it,” said Gala head coach, George Graham.

“We control the controllables, so a win and a Stirling loss means we avoid the relegation play-offs.

Gala are a huge club and shouldn’t be down this end of the table but we are and we have to deal with it. The boys are up for it and hopefully we get the result we need.”

Hawick’s league play-off hopes are all but mathematically over but the Robbie Dyes remain in the BT Cup and club captain Bruce McNeil wants his side to focus all their energy on making sure they are in the third round.

“The focus for us right now is making sure we keep getting positive results,” said McNeil.

“The main thing for us is that we don’t want to be remembered as a good team who can’t get it done at the final hurdle, we want to prove a point that we are a great side capable of anything.”

In National League one, promotion chasers Jed-Forest can move one step closer to the play-offs with a victory over third placed Dundee HSFP in Fife on Saturday.