Boroughmuir target games-in-hand in fight for National One survival

Meggetland men host Stirling Wolves with a lunchtime kick-off on Saturday

Daniel Coulter and Mark Hare have been key men for Boroughmuir this season. Images: Steve Langmead / Boroughmuir RFC
Daniel Coulter and Mark Hare have been key men for Boroughmuir this season. Images: Steve Langmead / Boroughmuir RFC

BOROUGHMUIR know they have to make the most of their two games-in-hand over their relegation rivals, starting against Stirling Wolves this weekend, if they are to complete a great escape from the National One drop zone.

Richard Sievwright’s young squad were always going to be up against it this term having lost a lot of experienced players to the Boroughmuir Bears Super6 franchise. They have battled away manfully, but with six games remaining, and a possible 30 points to play for, they are stranded 11th place – ahead only of already relegated Dundee High – and 15 and 16 points behind Kelso and Ayr respectively who both have four matches left to go.

The Meggetland men have not played in the league since a 26-0 defeat to leaders Biggar on January 25 and will hope the few focussed on themselves at training will make the difference when they host fifth placed Stirling Wolves at lunchtime on Saturday.

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One of Boroughmuir’s most impressive players in recent months has been back-row Daniel Coulter, a Belfast native who arrived in Edinburgh five years ago to study medicine.

“I pretty much joined Boroughmuir as soon as I arrived here and this is now my fifth season at the club,” he said, whilst taking a short break from studying for his final exams. “I enjoyed it from day one at the club and for the first four years I played a lot in the 3rd and 2nd XVs and met a lot of good friends.

“Through those years I had made a couple of appearances for the 1st XV and when the opportunity arose to be part of that on a more regular basis this time around I was keen to give it a go.

“Our first league match this season was a 53-7 defeat at Biggar so we knew that we would have to learn – and learn pretty quickly – to compete at this level.”

Wins over Dundee High (twice) and Cartha Queens Park have shown what the current squad can do when they get it right, but they have lost a number of close ones and that has, ultimately, put them in the predicament they are in now.

“Some of the close losses have been tough to take because we have put so much into the games only to come away with just a losing bonus poin or nothing at all,” the 22-year-old continued. “Of our last six games, five are at home while the only away trip is the short one to Heriot’s Blues so we have to make the most of home comforts and really give staying up the best shot that we can.”

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Captain Mark Hare, 29, is one of the most experienced players in the current squad, having played over 100 games for the 1st XV since a debut as a teenager in 2008.

“I grew up coming through the Boroughmuir youth section along with my brother Joni [a former 1st XV back-row] and have only ever played for the club, so Boroughmuir means a lot to me and reaching 100 matches last season was a highlight,” said the centre, who works for the Scottish Government.

“It has been a challenging year in terms of the experience we have lost to the Super6, but there’s a good atmosphere in the squad. All of the young lads coming through have stepped up well and have grown into their roles over the course of the season. It’s been really enjoyable to see their progression, and to help them out along the way where I can.”

When Boroughmuir went to Bridgehaugh to play Stirling in October, the capital side were blown away 47-7, so will be looking for a big turnaround in fortunes this weekend against Chris Faill’s men.

“We’re trying not to dwell too much on our league position and instead focus on each game as it comes,” concluded Hare. “We were on the wrong end of things in a tough match against Stirling earlier in the season so this weekend is a good test to show how we have improved.”

  • Boroughmuir v Stirling Wolves takes place in Tennent’s National League Division One at Meggetland at 12.30pm on Saturday

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About Gary Heatly 402 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.