National Two preview: the jockeying for promotion spots intensifies

Kirkcaldy and Stewart's Melville clash at Beveidge Park in the game game of the day

Hamilton Bulls will be looking for revenge following this loss back in September. Image: Billy Broll
Hamilton Bulls will be looking for revenge following this loss back in September. Image: Billy Broll

TWO of the form teams in National Two will put their recent winning streaks on the line this weekend when second placed Kirkcaldy host fourth placed Stewart’s Melville at Beveridge Park. Back in September, Stewart’s Melville won a tight tussle between the sides 19-13 at Inverleith and another close encounter is on the cards.

“After last week’s cancellation the boys can’t wait to get going,” said Kirkcaldy director of rugby Corgi George. “This is an important match for two promotion contenders and we feel as a group that we let ourselves down in the first match between the sides.

“Stew Mel were the better side by a long way that day, but we feel this is a great opportunity for us to even the score, particularly if we keep playing clever rugby like we have been of late.”

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This is the first leg in a potentially season-defining double-header for Stewart’s Melville, with a trip west to take on top of the table GHK on the cards next week.

“We’re expecting a big challenge for us physically and mentally,” said head coach Johnny Else. “They are a good team and we were delighted to get a win against them earlier in the season. The results sow that they have got better since then and they have home advantage, so we need to be ready to go from the first minute.

“Dumfries Saints dropping a few games has really opened this league up and we all know that we can’t afford any off days because the competition is so fierce.”

Leaders GHK are on the road to 10th placed Falkirk, while third placed Dumfries Saints will be keen to get back to winning ways after two recent defeats when they visit bottom of the table Whitecraigs.

Fifth placed Peebles head to Glasgow Accies looking to build on their recent victories over Dumfries and Whitecraigs, which has fired them right back into the promotion battle.

Accies have lost their last two, but the ninth placed side will have taken heart from their showing last time out despite losing 21-0 to GHK.

Seventh plays eighth at Laigh Bent with Hamilton Bulls and Newton Stewart knowing that if they are to have any chance of keeping pace with the top sides then they will have to go on a positive run from now on in.

Newton Stewart won 22-20 over the Bulls in week two and, ahead of this one, their head coach Martin Wallace said:  “We are looking to continue our winning ways heading into the Christmas break. The win over Hamilton in September gave us all a big boost, but we know that the Bulls are a very capable team who will be hard to beat at home, so we will have to play well.”

Hamilton lost to Stew Mel last time out but the club was given a boost recently when Euan Ferrie was named in the Scotland Under-19 squad.

Gordonians, in 11th, lost out at Newton Stewart two weeks ago and they welcome sixth placed Preston Lodge to Countesswells this time around.

This weekend’s National League Division Two fixtures (all 2pm unless stated) –

Hamilton Bulls v Newton Stewart

Whitecraigs v Dumfries Saints

Gordonians v Preston Lodge

Glasgow Accies v Peebles

Falkirk v GHK

Kirkcaldy v Stewart’s Melville (3pm)

How it stands –

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About Gary Heatly 463 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.