National Two preview: GHK and Hamilton Bulls set to reprise Cup drama

Dumfries Saints and Kirkcaldy to battle it out for valuable league points as the battle for promotion places goes to the wire

Hamilton Bulls and GHK meet for the third time this season at Annielsand on Friday night. Image: Neil Mitchell
Hamilton Bulls and GHK meet for the third time this season at Annielsand on Friday night. Image: Neil Mitchell

GHK meet Hamilton Bulls for the second time in six days this [Friday] evening, and if the National League Two clash is half as exciting as the National League Cup tie was then a cracker of a contest is on the cards.

Last Saturday, there was great drama at Laigh Bent as the visitors managed to edge out the hosts in extra-time to progress to the knock-out competition semi-finals, thanks to an ice-cool Kyle Henderson drop-goal in the 98th minute, and now the focus returns to the league table.

With results elsewhere leaving GHK third in the table, two points behind leaders Stewart’s Melville, Peter Wright’s men know they can go to the summit again – at least until Saturday – with a win at Old Anniesland. The Bulls, meanwhile, are eighth in the table, but will take encouragement from last week’s close-run match and from the fact they defeated GHK 40-36 in in the league back in September.

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“Everyone looks forward to Friday nights lights,” said GHK captain Cammy Hughes. “We lost the first game to Hamilton this season, but it was a tight contest while last week it took us 98 minutes to beat them so we know how much of a challenge this is going to be.”

Second placed Dumfries Saints are on the same number of points as GHK at the moment, and on Saturday they will be looking to bounce back after losses to Hamilton and Stew-Mel in recent weeks when they take on Kirkcaldy at Park Farm.

Way back on the opening day of the season, the Saints won 29-26 in Fife and with Kirkcaldy in fourth and also on the same number of points as them this meeting should be equally as tight.

“We were pleased to get a four try bonus point last week away at Stew Mel given our injury/unavailability issues,” Saints head coach Euan Mack stated. “We had some great defensive spells, but we need to be more accurate in our set-piece and attack this weekend against Kirkcaldy. We beat them away at the start of the season so they’ll be out for revenge and we’ll need to perform at the top of our game to win.”

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Fifth placed Peebles host 11th placed Gordonians at The Gytes. A win is important for the Borderers to keep up their top two hopes, but the match is also key for the men making the long trip south from Aberdeen because a positive result would see them leapfrog Falkirk out of the drop zone while a loss would leave them in the bottom two and running out of matches.

“It’s going to be tough heading down to Peebles but we have been buoyed by our performances in the last two games,” Gordonians head coach Ryan Morrice said. “We created opportunities against Kirkcaldy in our last outing, but couldn’t convert them so we need to be taking something away when we get into the opposition 22 this time around.

“We scrummaged well against Kirkcaldy so hopefully we can take that platform into the weekend. Also, there have been some good individual performances since Christmas so we have a platform to build from.

“We know we are running out of games and need to start picking up points, but this won’t be the game that decides our future. We still have massive games against Glasgow Accies and Falkirk to come and we know those are the games we need to be winning if we’ve any chance of staying up.”

This weekend’s National League Division Two fixtures –

Friday night lights –

GHK v Hamilton Bulls (7.30pm)

When Saturday comes –

Dumfries Saints v Kirkcaldy (1pm)

Peebles v Gordonians (2pm)

How it stands –

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About Gary Heatly 462 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.