MELROSE president Mike Dalgetty has described the difference between Scottish club rugby facilities and their equivalents across the border as quite simply frightening.
In his comments after his club’s British and Irish Cup match against Welsh Premiership side Llanelli last Friday night, Dalgetty said that the gap between his side and the semi-pro outfits from Wales and England is, in the main, not as big as some would have us believe.
But he added: “The actual difference is the opportunity for our players to fulfil their ambition.”
Friday’s game – which saw the Greenyards outfit lose 24-9 to their Welsh counterparts (see report on page 25) – was played on Carmarthen Park after it was switched from their usual venue, the 15,000 seater Parc-y-Scarlets, due to the Scarlets playing a Heineken Cup match.
Dalgetty added: “A barn with a full-size indoor pitch mean they never miss training. They train three nights a week in a highly competitive structure as back-up to the Scarlets and receive a small retainer to allow the club to ensure standards are met.
“When you talk to our equivalents the investment in facilities has been their basis of development. They demand competitions and facility investment that will ensure that their clubs can provide a continuous flow of quality players.
“Scotland is 20 years behind and it’s quite simply frightening. For the past six weeks we have been running around the BGH car park or wherever we can find when the weather closes in – that’s the real difference.”
This weekend Melrose face another huge test against Nottingham (on Sunday) at Notts County’s football stadium.
Back at home, fixtures are in disarray once more as clubs try to catch up in various competitions.
Peebles entertain Boroughmuir at the Gytes in a Premier Cup tie – giving the players another chance to test themselves against opposition from a higher level – while Gala make the journey to Dundee in the same competition.
Selkirk are back to Premier Group B action which sees them take on West of Scotland at Philiphaugh, while Jed-Forest play host to Kirkcaldy at Riverside in a Group C fixture. Kelso travel to play Falkirk, while Hawick are so far without a fixture.