National One: Kelso determined to bounce back after crashing at Cartha

Poynder Park men aim to bounce back from heavy defeat when they host Highland, knowing that a win could lift them off the foot of the table

Cartha v Kelso in week three
Kelso were overwhelmed by Cartha Queens Park last week.

KELSO captain Murray Hastie believes his side can bounce back from last weekend’s humbling at Cartha Queen’s Park in Tennent’s National League Division One.

The Borderers were beaten 98-3 at Dumbreck by the on-fire hosts, who ran in 16 tries. The sore defeat left Kelso bottom of the table with one point from three matches and on Saturday they are at home to Highland, who are second in the table.

Form would point to a Highland triumph, but Kelso are a proud club and skipper Hastie wants to make them a tough team to beat at Poynder Park.

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“The boys are obviously hurting from last weekend and we have a lot of young guys in the squad who have never experienced anything like that before,” Hastie said. “I am hoping that although it was a tough experience we can learn from it.

“This week we have some of our more senior players available, and we, as senior players, need to do more to drive things and support the young lads. We started the week with a great training session on Tuesday when everyone showed good intensity and focus and we are now looking forward to taking on a good Highland side who have been playing some great rugby of late.”

Highland have three wins from three to date and go into the match having this week signed  a unique partnership agreement with Inverness College UHI.  The ambitious collaboration will see the organisations further strengthen their existing relationship with the aim of expanding and adding value to opportunities to participate in further/higher education and high-level rugby in the region, focusing on areas of mutual benefit including education, research, squad development, coaching and community benefit.

Cartha, meanwhile, will be keen to build on that big win but will also know that they face a big challenge when they head to Goldenacre to take on Heriot’s Blues, who are in third place after a fine away victory at Stirling County Wolves last time out. When Cartha made the same trip in 2016 for a Scottish Cup quarter-final tie they lost out 74-18, but this one should be closer, and with both sides keen to attack at any opportunity it should be a cracker.

Melrose are the only side with three bonus-point wins from three and this weekend they take that flawless record to Boroughmuir. The young players in particular have been impressing for Melrose in the early part of the campaign, while Boroughmuir’s players took a massive confidence boost from last week’s win at Dundee HSFP and will want to take that form into this Meggetland meeting.

Biggar will head to Gala with a spring in their step after last week’s win against Ayr. The Hartree Mill outfit’s tries in a 62-15 win came from Conor Lavery, a hat-trick by Robbie Orr, two from Mark Bertram and one a piece from Euan Sanderson, Luhann Kutze and Alan Warnock. Lavery also added a penalty and seven conversions. With two home wins to their name this term, Biggar’s next hurdle is to win on the road and they know it will be a tough challenge at Netherdale against Opeta Palepoi’s Gala side.

Four sides who are looking to recover from losses last week are Watsonians, Stirling County, Ayr and Dundee HSFP. Watsonians host County at Myreside while Dundee make the trip to Millbrae to take on an Ayr side who had won their first two matches before the large reverse at Hartreemill against Biggar.

This weekend’s National League Division One fixtures (all 3pm) –

Heriot’s Blues v Cartha Queen’s Park

Watsonians v Stirling County Wolves

Gala v Biggar

Kelso v Highland

Boroughmuir v Melrose

Ayr v Dundee HSFP

National One table as it stands –

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About Gary Heatly 437 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.