National One preview: Cartha Queens Park keen to build on Melrose triumph

Boroughmuir and Heriot's Blues kick off the weekend under the Friday night light's at Meggetland

Cartha picked up a big win against Melrose last weekend are looking to double-up on that against Stirling County Wolves on Saturday. Image: Grahame Dunbar
Cartha picked up a big win against Melrose last weekend are looking to double-up on that against Stirling County Wolves on Saturday. Image: Grahame Dunbar

CARTHA QUEENS PARK put in their best showing of the season last week in National League One and now they want to back it up when they travel to Bridgehaugh to play Stirling County Wolves this weekend.

Two weeks ago, Cartha won 35-25 at Dundee HSFP and then in week nine they turned on the style to thump title chasing Melrose 54-5 at Dumbreck. The bonus point triumph left Cartha fifth in the table, but still nine points behind Melrose in fourth and the key thing for the Glasgow based team this time around will be trying to take their attacking flair on the road.

With the match at seventh placed Wolves, who are on the same number of points as Cartha (24), taking place before the Super6 match between Stirling County and the Southern Knights, there is sure to be a big crowd milling around too.


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“There are a few areas in which we can improve, but I was delighted with last week’s win,” said Cartha head coach Thomas Davidson. “The players really put in an 80 minute performance against a strong Melrose side who stuck in until the end.

“It was a real joy to watch us in attack while the physicality we displayed in defence was outstanding. Hopefully we can build from where we left off this weekend.”

The Wolves have lost the last two games on the road to  Melrose and Biggar so Chris Faill’s men will be happy to be back on home turf for this one.

Before then there is a big Edinburgh derby to kick off the weekend of action when Borougmuir host Heriot’s at Meggetland tonight [Friday]. Both sides need the points from this one for differing reasons, 11th placed Boroughmuir to get out of the bottom two and third placed Heriot’s to keep the pressure up on leaders Biggar.

“After four games away from home it’ll be good to be back at Meggetland,” said Boroughmuir head coach Richard Sievwright. “It will be a good opportunity to be in front of a home crowd and express ourselves, putting the performances of the last two weeks behind us.

“Players know they need to fulfil their individual roles and be more accurate if we are to challenge teams in this league.

“Training has been good this week, we have worked on a game plan that we think will suit us and we are looking forward to a game against our local rivals.”

Heriot’s have Jonny Betts, Nick Sutherland and Rory Carmichael back this week and their coach Jamie Parker said:  “The boys are looking forward to playing on a Friday night and  change from the norm. It has been a tough few weeks with injuries and unavailabilities, but we have made just three changes to the squad this week.

“Last week against Watsonians, the boys played very well in the first half and did enough to stay ahead in the second. Our main focus now is to put an 80 minute performance in against Boroughmuir.”

Biggar are looking to make it nine wins from 10 games when they take on Watsonians at Hartreemill. The visitors have experienced duo Jonny Duthie and Jack Ferguson back in the fold for this one, with Tom Richardson skippering the side in Chris Bell’s absence.

Kelso are 11 points behind ninth placed Watsonians in 10th in the table, but will be looking to build on last week’s win over Boroughmuir when they travel to Ayr. The Millbrae side are eighth and will want to get back on track after two defeats on the road.

Bottom side Dundee HSFP host sixth placed Gala at Mayfield with the former knowing a win is a must very soon.

In the final game of the weekend, kicking off at 3pm on Saturday, fourth plays second as Melrose take on Highland at The Greenyards.

The Borderers, of course, come into this one off a heavy defeat to Cartha while Highland make the long trip south in strong form.

“It has hit home that you can’t take anyone for granted in this league, the players are determined to bounce back,” insisted Melrose head coach Stuart Johnson.

“There are changes to the squad and the guys coming in need to make a mark on the game early on, while the players who have survived from last week need to step things up because Highland have shown that if you let them play they can score tries from all over the pitch.

“After a tough week of training we need to perform in front of our own supporters and I have every confidence that this squad can.”

Iain Chisholm and Gordon Gregor are back for Highland. “The team are in a good place just now and in recent weeks have bounced back from our two defeats on the spin,” said Dave Carson, the Highland head coach.

“I believe we are capable of achieving a win in the Borders if the players continue to play with the power, pace and aggression they have shown recently. A win would keep us secure in second place with one game to go until the halfway point.”

This weekend’s National League Division One fixtures –

Friday –

Boroughmuir v Heriot’s (7.30pm)

Saturday (2pm unless stated) –

Biggar v Watsonians

Stirling County Wolves v Cartha Queens Park

Ayr v Kelso

Dundee HSFP v Gala

Melrose v Highland (3pm)

Current league standings –

Nat 1PWLDFADTBLBPts
Biggar RFC16141163019543515073
Heriot's Blues15114055230324913158
Highland RFC16115051534017510155
Melrose Rugby161150366398-328052
Gala RFC15762400347537241
Cartha Queens15780487472159239
Stirling Wolves15771349354-56339
Watsonian FC15771349436-876137
Ayr RFC165101335462-1276230
Kelso RFC165110290503-2135328
Boroughmuir153120247403-1562418
Dundee HSFP162140251558-3072111

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Gary Heatly
About Gary Heatly 130 Articles
Gary has had a love for both rugby and writing for as far back as he can remember. Having cut his teeth in the ‘real world’ of journalism at the Midlothian Advertiser local newspaper for a couple of years between 2005 and 2007, he has since been kept busy covering sport, mainly rugby. He was a member of the editorial team at SCRUM Magazine for 11 years until recently and now provides regular rugby content to various national and local newspapers, magazines and websites via his company GH Media as well as hosting a podcast. Twitter: G_HMedia