National Two preview: GHK itching to resume promotion push-off after month long lay-off

Four way battle at the top of the league is set to go to the wire, while Falkirk and Gordonians have it all to play for at the foot of the table

Peebles are right in the promotion race after their great recent run of successes. Image: Erica Guiney
Peebles are right in the promotion race after their great recent run of successes. Image: Erica Guiney

PROMOTION chasing GHK did not play a single National League Two match during the whole of February, so it is no surprise their players are looking forward to taking on fellow high-flyers Dumfries Saints on Saturday.

Peter Wright’s men saw clashes with Peebles, Kirkcaldy and Preston Lodge postponed last month, leaving them kicking their heels and dropping to fourth in the table, albeit with games in hand.

With Kirkcaldy faltering of late, it looks like the Anniesland men are in a four way battle for the two top spots against Stewart’s Melville, Dumfries and Peebles, and with seven games remaining this weekend’s match could be pivotal.

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“After a month of just training we are itching to get a game,” acknowledged GHK skipper Cammy Hughes. “It is a big day for the club on Saturday, we have our sell-out ‘Legends Lunch’ and a game against second in the league Dumfries. We didn’t put our best foot forward when we lost 29-10 away in Dumfries back in November and we’re definitely looking to put that right this time.”

The Saints were edged out by Stew Mel in a real ‘ding-dong’ battle last weekend. “We played really well against an excellent side in Stew Mel, but ultimately came off second best,” reflected Dumfries head coach Euan Mack, whose side only have games left so can hardly afford any more reversals.

“That probably makes this weekend a ‘must win’ for us if we’re to achieve our goals this year,” he added. “I’m confident if we play the way we did last week then we’ll not be far away.”

Meanwhile, top of the table Stew Mel host bottom side Whitecraigs at Inverleith. The visitors have only won once all season and need to go on a real run now to avoid relegation.

Ahead of the trip to Edinburgh to face Jonny Else’s men, Whitecraigs head coach Ian Hamilton said:  “We are focusing on how to use our defensive platform as a starting point of attack, and how to transition between defence and attack effectively.

“We still have seven games left of the season, but we approach each game as our main focus and trust that as our performances keep improving the results will come.

“We are keeping our focus on the process that we are going through rather than the outcome, but we understand the importance of each game as we approach it.”

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Third placed Peebles have been on a great run of form lately and they head to Kirkcaldy with their tails up. The Fifers are now nine points off a promotion spot in fifth with just five games left after recent losses to Newton Stewart and Glasgow Accies, but are always tough to breakdown at home.

There is also a big game at Horne Park that will have a significant impact at the bottom of the table, with Falkirk, who have slipped to 11th having been inactive for a while, hosting 10th placed Gordonians.

The Aberdeen side defeated Hamilton last week and ahead of this one Falkirk head coach Stevie Leckie said:  “We are really looking forward to getting a game of rugby, we have been training well and now just want to get on with playing.

“The boys have been great to be honest [with recent postponements], they have got their minds adjusted to playing up until May.”

Elsewhere on Saturday, Hamilton Bulls host a Glasgow Accies side who are now 14 points clear of the drop zone and Newton Stewart welcome PL to Bladnoch Park.

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

Falkirk v Gordonians

Stewart’s Melville v Whitecraigs

GHK v Dumfries Saints

Newton Stewart v Preston Lodge

Hamilton Bulls v Glasgow Accies

Kirkcaldy v Peebles

How it stands –

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About Gary Heatly 456 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.