’Rose ready for two matches that will define season

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AT LAST, another long, and at times painful, rugby season is coming to a close, writes Fiona Scott.

And for one Borders side it is likely to end with a bang.

For on Saturday, Melrose will drag their bruised and battered bodies onto the Greenyards turf one more time when they take on Ayr in a league title decider.

And, following their heartbreaking cup defeat at the hands of the Millbrae outfit last weekend (see P29), Craig Chalmers’ men are more than ready to do battle once more.

Melrose president Mike Dalgetty said: “It is not often you get the chance to put something right so quickly so we should relish the opportunity and look forward to having a big crowd on our home patch.

“This is the big one, there is no hiding place – the Championship is the prize every club wants.”

If that wasn’t enough, Melrose also have a Border League final to contest in the coming week. Following much deliberation by the Border League committee the match will take place as planned at The Gytes on Wednesday night with Selkirk (who needed a draw or a win over Berwick last night) being the most likely opponents.

Meanwhile, plans are afoot for events taking place during the summer months. The Bill McLaren Foundation is holding a celebration of South rugby in the Cardrona Hotel on Friday, June 24.

The evening will feature South players who have played against touring teams over the last 50 years and all rugby enthusiasts are encouraged to attend, whether an ex-South player, club, school, company or supporter. Players who have already confirmed their attendance include John Jeffrey, John Rutherford, Norman Suddon, Peter Dods and Alistair Cranston – with many more expected.

The dinner will be chaired by former Hawick and Scotland stalwart Ian Barnes, with guest speaker England and Barbarians centre John Spencer and Ross High RFC president Scott Glynn providing his own unique brand of entertainment.

Former South player and foundation director Brian Renwick said: “We don’t celebrate the traditions of teams like the South of Scotland enough. The history is rich and over the five decades being covered at the event there were some great results against the top nations in the world.

“It will be great to see everyone mixing together at an event in aid of the foundation.”

Tickets are available from www.billmclarenfoundation.co.uk/south-reunion-dinner.