Local trio hope all roads will lead to Murrayfield

ONE last hurdle stands between three Borders rugby teams and a dream trip to Murrayfield on April 14, and a place in the RBS Cup/Shield/Bowl finals, writes Fiona Scott.

Gala, Hawick YM and Hawick Harlequins have the chance of landing a place in each of the respective finals and all play their semis this Saturday.

For Gala, a trip to Premier One rivals Dundee is in the offing and Mayfield can look forward to a Borders invasion when two coachloads of supporters and dozens of others travelling by car arrive to throw their weight behind the team.

Gala’s one and only trip to a Cup final was in 1999 when they beat local rivals Kelso 8-3 and they will be desperate to ensure they make it to another one.

Maroons coach George Graham told TheSouthern: “Playing in any semi-final is huge and the mind-set is slightly different than what it would be for a league game, but if we keep playing with the same confidence and enthusiasm we showed in the first half of the season and again over the last few weeks, then we won’t be far away.

“It would be great to get in among the silverware again and everyone is certainly showing the right approach to the game.”

Anyone still wishing to book a place on the supporters’ bus for this game can still do so by contacting Gordon Keddie at the rugby club on 01896 755145 before 2pm today or tomorrow.

Hawick YM have appeared in two Murrayfield finals, the Bowl in 2004 and the Shield last year, and won neither. Could 2012 be their year?

On Saturday, they tackle Musselburgh at Mansfield Haugh and supporters can rest assured the Redskins will be taking no prisoners. The East Lothian men sit four points behind YM, in second place in the National League, and after playing each other twice this season, it’s 1-1 in wins.

An appearance in the Bowl final in 2002 proved fruitless for Hawick Harlequins. They were beaten 18-6 by Ellon, and this weekend they have a tricky trip to East League Two table-toppers Dunbar in order to secure their final spot.

Elsewhere this weekend, Hawick will be looking to secure their spot in the Border League final when they take on Berwick at Mansfield Park; Selkirk hope to keep up their unbeaten Premier C form against Falkirk at Philiphaugh; while Division Two champions Jed-Forest see out their season with a home tie against Glasgow Hawks at Riverside Park.

The local semi-junior XV-a-side season also comes to a climax on Saturday with the Border Cup and Plate finals being played out at Scremerston. Gala Wanderers take on Tynedale in the Cup while Jed Thistle and Peebles Colts will fight it out for the Plate.

z BORDERS interest at the Brewin Dolphin Finals Day at Murrayfield last Sunday was focused on the under-15 final, with girls from Langholm, Hawick, Selkirk and Melrose in the South Barbarians side, along with some from Murrayfield Wanderers. Unfortunately, the South lost in the final to Grantown Grammar by 41-29.

It was a fiercely-contested final which was in the balance up to the closing minutes, with the South side only two points behind, but injuries mounted and Grantown added two late tries.

All the South Barbarians’ points came from centre Lisa Thomson through five tries and two conversions.