Borders league & cup contests are customary at Christmas

Bruce Colvine of Melrose.
Bruce Colvine of Melrose.

There’s a festive sprinkling of Borders League games and traditional, proudly-contested local cup matches on the south’s seasonal rugby calendar.

Tonight (Thursday), Hawick take on Kelso at Mansfield Park in the Booker Border League, while at Volunteer Park, Hawick Linden entertain Selkirk ‘A’ in the Borders Junior Cup.

Darren Clapperton of Selkirk.

Darren Clapperton of Selkirk.

Saturday afternoon sees Melrose head to Philiphaugh to play Selkirk, also in a Border League game.

And on Boxing Day, there’s a choice of traditional Christmas classics – Gala versus Melrose at Netherdale in the Waverely Cup, and/or Jed-Forest against Hawick at Riverside in the Skelly Cup.

Kelso go into tonight’s game with a very good win over Selkirk under their belts and were happy to have some “clear water” between themselves and those beneath them in National 1.

Hawick head coach George Graham intends to rest some players and give a chance to others who have not had much game time so far. “Thursday will be a great opportunity for some of these boys to try and stamp their mark on getting in the first team,” he added.

Selkirk and Melrose both suffered league defeats last time out and will be eager to recapture the winning feeling on Saturday.

Selkirk’s director of rugby Ewen Robbie said: “If we win, we’re in the Border League final, so it’s a big incentive and a big challenge for us. It will be a hard, hard game but it’s Melrose, and it’s at home, which is a massive bonus for us. You don’t get too many chances to play Melrose, obviously, who are in the league above. I think the boys will be up for it.”

Melrose head coach Rob Chrystie reckoned Selkirk would fancy their chances but Melrose knew what to expect, while they too would give other players some exposure.

“We need to make sure we’re rewarding the right boys who have been fully committed this year and have been playing well and deserve the opportunity to play in among some of the more experienced players ,” he added.