National Two: is this Scottish club rugby’s most competitive league?

Three huge matches go ahead this weekend with the stakes high at both ends of the table

Hamilton Bulls want to build on last week's win versus Glasgow Accies. Image: Neil Mitchell
Hamilton Bulls want to build on last week's win versus Glasgow Accies. Image: Neil Mitchell

THERE are three scheduled matches in Tennent’s National League Division Two this weekend which are all important for different reasons, starting with GHK against Gordonians under lights  at Old Anniesland this evening [Friday].

GHK are currently fourth in the division and know that a win is needed in this one to keep them in the mix for a top two (promotion) spot. Six days ago they were defeated by fellow promotion chasers Dumfries Saints in dramatic fashion, with a late penalty seeing the visitors win 13-10 at Old Anniesland, and as a result they will want to get on the front foot early in this encounter against a Gordonians side who are 11th in the table so fighting for survival.

When the sides last met in mid-November in Aberdeen, GHK ran out comfortable 50-12 winners. Ahead of the rematch, GHK skipper Cammy Hughes said:  “We were bitterly disappointed after Saturday’s result, so we are really looking to bounce back. Gordonians have had some brilliant results on their day this season so we have to be at our best to get the result we want.”

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An early kick-off on Saturday sees bottom of the table Whitecraigs travelling to Laigh Bent to play Hamilton Bulls. The hosts are safe in eighth place and won 49-19 in the corresponding fixture back in October at West Lodge. They also defeated Glasgow Accies last time out while Whitecraigs were being thumped 69-5 by leaders Stewart’s Melville, so momentum is on their side.

However, Whitecraigs are fighting for their lives and do not have many chances left, so they will be giving it everything in this one.

“We have been preparing for the game, taking in the hard lessons we learnt against Stew Mel and analysing why our performance was not up to the task of containing them and making the most of our own opportunities,” said Whitecraigs head coach Ian Hamilton.

“We know how Hamilton will try and attack us and we have corrected our defensive structures accordingly. We want to continue to build our attacking play and look to make the correct decisions, especially in their half.”

Stew Mel are two points clear of Dumfries and Peebles at the summit and are going for their fifth league win on the spin when they host Newton Stewart. The Inverleith side’s head coach Jonny Else was very happy with the attitude of his players and their style of play last weekend and will want that to continue against Martin Wallace’s men.

Newton Stewart could leapfrog Kirkcaldy into fifth place with an away win and they come into this trip to Edinburgh on the back of a victory over Preston Lodge. When these two sides last met in September, Stew Mel won 12-0 at Bladoch Park.

This weekend’s National League Division Two fixtures –

Friday night lights –

GHK v Gordonians (8pm)

When Saturday comes –

Hamilton Bulls v Whitecraigs (11.30am)

Stewart’s Melville v Newton Stewart (1.30pm)

How it stands –

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Gary Heatly
About Gary Heatly 175 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