National Two preview: leaders Dumfries Saints host second-placed Stew-Mel

There is also a couple of crucial matches in the relegation battle with bottom of table Whitecraigs hosting tenth placed Falkirk, and 11th placed Gordonians hosting Hamilton Bulls

Stewart's Melville have won their two previous meetings against Dumfries Saints this season, but don't have home advantage this time. Image: Jax MacKenzie Photography
Stewart's Melville have won their two previous meetings against Dumfries Saints this season, but don't have home advantage this time. Image: Jax MacKenzie Photography

THERE is a top of the table clash at Park Farm with leaders Dumfries Saints hosting second placed Stewart’s Melville, as the battle for the top two promotion spots looking set to run and run until the final day of the campaign with up to five clubs still in the mix.

The Saints went back to the top of the table last weekend when they defeated Whitecraigs in wet and windy conditions, but Stew Mel are just three points behind and have a game in hand. So far in 2019-20, the Edinburgh side have had the better of Dumfries, defeating them 43-22 at Inverleith in the first round of the National League Cup in October, and 33-24 in the league last month.

What those two matches would suggest is that both of these sides like to attack and it should be a very entertaining game this time around on Dumfries’ home turf.

Leone Nakarawa out for up to six weeks with ligament damage

The end of an era for Mike Dalgetty, but also the start of something new

Opinion: ‘There is something rotten at the heart of Scottish Rugby’

“It doesn’t get much bigger at this stage of the season for us,” said Saints head coach Euan Mack. “Stew Mel have beaten us the last three times we’ve played [going back to last season] so they’re big favourites and all the pressure is on them.

“They’ve got a real threat in attack through both their pack and the back,  and our boys will need to be prepared for a huge battle if we’re to come out of the game with anything. It should be a great game though and a good day for the club. We’re looking forward to it.”

Third placed GHK, who  are just a point behind Stew Mel, play Preston Lodge away When the two sides met in Glasgow back in October GHK came out on top 33-26.

Peebles are a further two points behind GHK and they are hosting Newton Stewart at The Gytes. The Borderers have not played since February 1st when they thumped Gordonians and Lewis Bertram’s men know how dangerous Newton Stewart can be having lost out 28-22 to them just over four months ago.

Kirkcaldy’s promotion push was dealt a blow by a loss to Newton Stewart a fortnight ago and the fifth placed Fifers know a win at Glasgow Accies is crucial to keep their hopes of going up alive. Accies, in ninth, have managed to get themselves 11 points clear of the relegation zone, but Andy Jackson’s men know that they are not home and hosed yet.

There is a massive game at West Lodge where bottom side Whitecraigs take on 10th placed Falkirk. Whitecraigs earned plaudits, but no points against Dumfries last time out and this time around it is all about the result. They are eight points away from safety and they simply cannot afford to let that gap widen any more. Falkirk won the corresponding fixture in October 42-12, but expect this to be closer.

Gordonians are in 11th, just two points behind Falkirk, but they have played three matches more. They host Hamilton Bulls in Aberdeen and head coach Ryan Morrice stated:  “It’s going to be a tough challenge this weekend, if we sit off them then we know how much damage they can do in attack. Whilst we need to win the game we can’t go chasing it from the first whistle. If we can get a foothold with our set piece then we know we can cause them problems.

“Ultimately, we haven’t been converting the opportunities we’ve been creating, if we can start doing that then we give ourselves a chance.”

This Saturday’s National League Division Two fixtures (all 3pm) –

Gordonians v Hamilton Bulls

Glasgow Accies v Kirkcaldy

Preston Lodge v GHK

Whitecraigs v Falkirk

Peebles v Newton Stewart

Dumfries Saints v Stewart’s Melville

How it stands –

[lt id=”20″]

Opinion: ‘There is something rotten at the heart of Scottish Rugby’

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article

Support our coverage  of all levels of Scottish rugby.

Invest in our gameyou can make a difference by keeping Scottish rugby at all levels in the news.

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