Rugby games may be a snow go

DESPITE having an artificial 3G pitch and undersoil heating at Netherdale, and frost covers at The Greenyards, there is no guarantee of rugby this weekend.

The snow is the main culprit and is the worst enemy of the undersoil heating system.

Too much of it means that it cannot operate. Because of the special kind of grass used at Netherdale, brushing snow off in the traditional way is not good either, so for Gala’s game against Currie to be played this Saturday, the snow would have had to have stopped as early in the week as possible.

With temperatures set to drop to minus six tomorrow night it’s hard to imagine rugby being played on Saturday in the Borders, despite five degrees being predicted for Saturday.

That’s not stopping Selkirk RFC, however, who intend to clear their pitch to enable them to get their National League match against Watsonians off the ground.

“We are looking for as many bodies as possible to turn up at Philiphaugh at 9am on Saturday morning with snow shovels and hard brushes,” said Selkirk director of rugby Dennis Henderson. “There are no ifs and buts. We are going to clear that pitch.”

Just down the A7 in Hawick, plans for Gala rugby legend Chris Paterson to bring the RBS Six Nations trophy to the Borders will still go ahead, whatever the weather.

Scotland has never won the celebrated silverware since its inception in 2000 when Italy joined the existing five nations to form a new competition, so the actual trophy doesn’t come to this country very often.

But on Saturday, the trophy, and Paterson, will be present at the National League match between Hawick and Kelso.

If the match goes ahead supporters will be invited into the clubhouse afterwards where Paterson, now an RBS ambassador for rugby, will answer questions on life as one of the game’s best ever goal kickers, as well as posing for photos and signing autographs.

For those who cannot make it to the game, the trophy will be on display in the Hawick branch of RBS on the High Street in the morning. Fans of all clubs, not just those involved in the match, are welcome to attend and, in the event of bad weather Paterson and the trophy will still be present in the clubrooms from 3pm.

Already falling victim to the weather are the eight Brewin Dolphin Scottish finals scheduled to take place on Saturday at Murrayfield.

Because of the averse conditions over the last two weeks, a number of semi-finals have been postponed, including Gala Academy’s tie against Madras College which will now take place next Tuesday. And with the forecast not looking likely to improve, rescheduling has proved to be very difficult.