League assignments resume for the lower division rugby squads this weekend as they get in shape for the first BT fixtures of 2017.
Premiership teams are enjoying another week’s festive lie-in, but competition in the other divisions gets back underway on Saturday.
Among those on League I duty are Jed-Forest and Selkirk, both in the top half of the table and both of whom had some additional match practice over Christmas in the Border League and traditional local tournaments.
Third-placed Jed-Forest host Stewarts Melville and are looking very much towards victory.
The Riverside Park squad was narrowly defeated 31-29 by Hawick in the Skelly Cup last week but head coach Jammy McFarlane said he could not fault the players’ effort.
“We had a few front-liners missing but we did very well – I was pleased with the blokes who came in,” he said. “While we weren’t best organised, I thought the effort and enthusiasm shown by them was fantastic. It’s a game we should have won, really.”
Gregor Law picked up a shoulder injury but it’s hoped he’ll be fit for Saturday.
“There are nine games to go – still a lot of rugby to be played,” added McFarlane.
“Hopefully, we can string together a good run – we might actually have to win the whole nine to give ourselves a chance of anything. There’s a bit of pressure there.
“I know it’s a cliche, but we’ll take it a game at a time and first thing on the horizon is Stew Mel on Saturday at home. We really need to pick up a win there to keep it going.”
Selkirk, in fifth, travel to GHA, with manager Tom Ramage glad to have an extended squad and competition for places among the players, as well as the “good, hard workout” afforded by last Thursday’s 27-6 Border League victory at Peebles.
He hoped largely the same squad would be out on Saturday and that hooker James Bett would have overcome a neck strain. “We’re looking for a win,” he said. I’m not saying a five-point win, but a win to keep us on track.”