Rugby on ice in Borders for at least another week but Hawick’s game in Glasgow going ahead

Rugby looks set to remain on ice in the Borders for at least another week – and quite possibly longer – as part of nationwide efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 6:54 pm
Selkirk and Jed-Forest have called off their Tennent's Premiership games this Saturday, but, as things stand, Hawick's at Glasgow Hawks is going ahead (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

The sport’s winter break was due to end this coming weekend and a full fixture list was lined up for the Tennent’s Premiership and national and other leagues, but the Scottish Rugby Union agreed on Monday night to offer a dispensation to clubs to postpone games to avoid risking putting fans, players and officials at risk of infection.

Most clubs in the region have taken up that offer and others might yet follow suit before Saturday arrives.

Jed-Forest and Selkirk have called off their premiership games against Marr and Glasgow Hutchesons’ Aloysians, but Hawick’s match at Glasgow Hawks, kicking off at Balgray Stadium at 2pm, is going ahead, according to club officials.

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In Tennent’s National League Division 1, Melrose’s home game against Watsonians and Kelso’s trip to Stirling Wolves are off, as is Gala’s match against table-topping Heriot’s Blues.

Peebles’ Tennent’s National League Division 2 game versus Preston Lodge is also off, as are Trinity Accies’ Tennent’s East Region League Division 2 game against Hawick Linden and Kelso Ladies’ trip to Garioch Ladies.

An SRU spokesperson said on Tuesday: “Given the continued rise in Covid-19 numbers over the festive period – topping 20,000 positive cases yesterday – we have taken the decision to allow clubs to postpone their scheduled adult club league fixtures this weekend.

“That decision was taken following feedback from clubs, discussion with president Ian Barr and vice-president Colin Rigby and to remain consistent with Scottish Rugby’s desire throughout the pandemic that the wellbeing of the rugby community is paramount.

“In addition to the rise in Covid cases, the subsequent impact on numbers of people self-isolating and potential strains on travel and changing-room usage were also factors in the decision.

“Scottish Rugby will continue to monitor the situation carefully and will update clubs next week regarding fixtures scheduled for next weekend, January 15 and 16.”

Fixtures previously cancelled in the Borders for fear of fuelling the spread of Covid include Gala’s Waverley Cup match against Melrose on Sunday, December 26, and Jed-Forest’s Border League game against Peebles on Tuesday, December 28, along with an east-versus-west Boxing Day friendly in Hawick.

Fears that this week’s postponements could be paving the way for another wipeout of the rugby calendar such as the one that only ended in September last year – or July in the case of Fosroc Super6 side Southern Knights – following the arrival of Covid in Scotland in 2020 were allayed today, January 5, by first minister Nicola Sturgeon, however.

Rather than returning to games being played behind closed doors or not at all, she says she hopes to be able to left the current cap of 500 on crowds at sporting events by the end of this month.

"We have right throughout had very good discussions with the SRU about matches at Murrayfield,” she said at her latest Covid update in Edinburgh today.

“They have been very constructive at working with us to enable games to go ahead.

“I know how important clarity is for those who cater for big sporting events, and not least matches at Murrayfield, so that’s very much in our minds as we take decisions.

“I hope very much we won't have to go beyond January 17 with these restrictions. All of us, including myself, want to be able to cheer Scotland on at Murrayfield in the Six Nations.”