National One preview: Stirling and Ayr look to establish some consistency

Top of table Melrose take on basement dwellers Dundee, while Watsonians will be looking for revenge against Highland following Cup defeat

Stef Yarrow carries the ball Stirling County Wolves against Boroughmuir last week.
Stef Yarrow carries the ball Stirling County Wolves against Boroughmuir last week. Image: Bryan Robertson

STIRLING COUNTY WOLVES are keen to build on last week’s comprehensive win over Boroughmuir when they head to Millbrae to take on Ayr this weekend. The two sides are fifth and sixth in the table on 16 points each.

Both of these sides have the talent to push up the table and challenge for the top spots, but for that to happen they need to find a bit more consistency.

For example, so far the Wolves have gone win, win, loss, loss, win. They head to Millbrae looking for another 80 minute performance after really flashing their teeth with a 42-7 win over Boroughmuir last week. The County points in that one came from tries by Nik Binning, Mikey Heron (2), Stef Yarrow, Andrew Orr and man of the match David Montgomery. Captain Jonny Hope kicked six conversions.


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“We know that Ayr are a quality side and we will have to be at our best to win at Millbrae,” said Stirling head coach head coach Chris Faill. “We will travel full of confidence after last week’s performance against Boroughmuir, it was our most complete showing of the season.

“We have had a more settled look to the team over recent weeks which has allowed new combinations to develop. I am really pleased with the progress we are making as a group and hopefully we can continue that this week.”

Ayr were pipped in the last minute by leaders Melrose last time out and they will be keen to get back to winning ways.

The only unbeaten team left, Melrose, will be expected to keep that run going away to bottom side Dundee HSFP, but Mayfield is always a tough place to go and the Border side’s head coach Stuart Johnson will have his men ready for a tough game.

Heriot’s Blues are second and have been scoring tries for fun in recent weeks. They have scored 168 points in three victories since they lost to Melrose in week two and this weekend welcome Gala to Goldenacre.

The Maroons have won two games so far, but you get the feeling if they click they could go on a run and move up the table.

Biggar have also won their last three games to sit third in the table. They will look to make it four in a row at Poynder Park against winless Kelso with the latter side knowing they cannot keep going behind early and then chasing games.

Savills

Fourth placed Highland are on the road to Myreside to take on Watsonians. Both sides will be looking to bounce back from losses last week, Highland having lost at home to Heriot’s and Watsonians having had a slow start at Cartha before going down to defeat.

“We are a very young side and last week gave the boys more learnings and they have reacted well in training this week,” said Watsonians head coach Bruce Ruthven. “We know it will be another hard game this weekend.”

Highland will draw confidence from their home victory over Watsonians in the Scottish Cup preliminary round at the end of August .

Fresh from the aforementioned win against Watsonians, Cartha Queens Park are travelling to take on Boroughmuir at Meggetland. Ahead of the 10th versus seventh meeting, Boroughmuir head coach Richard Sievwright said:  “Credit to Stirling last week, they put us under pressure from the start and we never recovered.

“We are looking to improve our accuracy this week as well as our intensity with and without the ball. With some injuries to guys other players will get an opportunity to step up and show what they can do this week.”

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

Boroughmuir v Cartha Queens Park

Ayr v Stirling County Wolves

Kelso v Biggar

Watsonians v Highland

Dundee HSFP v Melrose

Heriot’s Blues v Gala

Current league standings –

Nat 1PWLDFADTBLBPts
Biggar RFC7610280861946030
Heriot's Blues75203201761447128
Melrose Rugby7610198149494028
Highland RFC7520212162505126
Stirling Wolves7421202170325124
Ayr RFC7421192176164123
Watsonian FC7331173208-353017
Cartha Queens7250246247-15114
Gala RFC7241185209-243114
Boroughmuir7250121219-982111
Kelso RFC716098258-160228
Dundee HSFP7070117284-167101

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Gary Heatly
About Gary Heatly 74 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

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