National Two preview: Stew-Mel and Peebles look to derail each other’s promotion push

There are big matches at the top and bottom ends of the table this weekend with the competitve nature of the league meaning every game counts

Stewart's Melville came out on top against Peebles earlier in the season. Image: Jax MacKenzie Photography
Stewart's Melville came out on top against Peebles earlier in the season. Image: Jax MacKenzie Photography

FOURTH placed Peebles take on third placed Stewart’s Melville on Saturday in a big match at the top end of National League Division Two.

When the two side met at Inverleith l back in October, the hosts put in one of their best showings of the campaign to come out on top 27-17. Another close encounter is expected at The Gytes this time around with both sides champing at the bit to get back on the pitch after seeing their games postponed last week.

“All at Stewart’s Melville cannot wait to finally kick off the second part of the season,” said head coach Jonny Else. “We head down to The Gytes knowing that Peebles are a team who can beat anyone in the league. We know how tough a challenge this will be, but one that we are up for.

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“Despite the weather conditions we have prepared well this week and we have an enthusiastic and hard working squad heading down to the Borders. We must be ready for anything as Peebles played well and with intelligence in the fixture at Inverleith.”

League leaders Dumfries Saints hosts Hamilton Bulls. Dumfries won 45-25 away from home when the sides met earlier in 2019-20 and another entertaining encounter is expected at Park Farm. The Saints were pleased with the way they battled past Glasgow Accies last weekend and although Hamilton are eighth in the table they can cause teams above them issues on their day.

Meanwhile second placed GHK are at Newton Stewart as the title race continues to excite. A try by Gavin McKirdy and two Jack Cuthbert penalties edged GHK past Newton Stewart 11-10 in October and Peter Wright’s men will be ready for another tough one this time around.

“We are really looking forward to the game this Saturday, it’s been a while since we played last,” GHK skipper Cammy Hughes said. “The Christmas break has let a few boys who were carrying knocks get over them and it’s going to be a really tough shift at Newton Stewart. They are a really physical team who we struggled to breakdown at home. Hopefully things click for us and we can keep the pressure on at the top of the league.”

Kirkcaldy are sixth, nine points behind Dumfries, and they make the trip to Countesswells to face Gordonians. The Aberdeen side got a confidence-boosting win over fellow strugglers Whitecraigs last time out and will want to make it back-to-back home wins.

Tenth placed Falkirk are at Preston Lodge while there is a huge match at West Lodge as bottom side Whitecraigs host ninth placed Glasgow Accies. Accies won 29-15 back in October, but Whitecraigs need wins quickly if they are not to lose touch with those teams above them and, as a result, will be up for this one.

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

Gordonians v Kirkcaldy

Newton Stewart v GHK

Preston Lodge v Falkirk

Dumfries Saints v Hamilton Bulls

Whitecraigs v Glasgow Accies

Peebles v Stewart’s Melville (3pm)

How it stands –

Marr RFC1412115072822829160
Currie Chieftains15114049421727711257
Hawick RFC1410313522181347150
Selkirk RFC1677234634335340
GHA RFC166100343511-1686333
Edinburgh Accies14482312358-465227
Glasgow Hawks154110310413-1035627

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Gary Heatly
About Gary Heatly 152 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