National Two preview: stragglers start to feel the pressure

Gordonians, Whitecraigs and Glasgow Accies all need of a win, while frontrunners Dumfries Saints and GHK clash at Park Farm

Whitecraigs and Gordonians are both in need of some winning momentum. Image: Mel Leiper
Whitecraigs and Gordonians are both in need of some winning momentum. Image: Mel Leiper

THE NATIONAL LEAGUE TWO season resumes on Saturday with the clubs in the bottom spots well aware that they have to start winning more regularly soon or face up to the possibility of being cut adrift. Gordonians are at the foot of the table with just five points from seven games, while Whitecraigs and Glasgow Accies are just ahead of them on eight points each.

The only win Gordonians have had to date came on October 12th when they thumped an injury-hit Accies 42-7. They will be after a similar performance, or even just a narrow victory, when they host ninth placed Falkirk at Countesswells this weekend.

Falkirk make the trip north off the back of a disappointing home loss to Strathmore from the league below in the cup last weekend, while Gordonians have not played since the 57-5 league defeat at Hamilton Bulls a fortnight ago.

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“This weekend’s game is a ‘must win’ for us if we want to stay in touch with the teams above us,” said Gordonians head coach Ryan Morrice. “Everyone involved with the squad was disappointed by the performance at Hamilton, but ultimately for us it is about our home games.

“We need to try build on the performances that saw us run Dumfries and Peebles close, and defeat Glasgow Accies, so that we can hopefully start climbing the table.”

Whitecraigs are at home to Stewart’s Melville with the Glasgow side looking to regain the attacking form of late September when they dispatched Gordonians 34-20. Their opponents this weekend are eighth in the table, but have played a match less than most in the division and are on a high after beating Dumfries Saints in the National League Cup last time out.

“We have been working hard on correcting some elements of our game and learning from some of our past performances,” said Whitecraigs head coach Ian Hamilton. “The boys worked hard during the weekend off from league duties, we put in extra training and and our defensive awareness is getting better.

“It is sure to be a good game on Saturday because the table is quite close and each game carries more importance as the weeks go by.”

Glasgow Accies will also have been working on their defence under head coach Andy Jackson ahead of their home match with Hamilton Bulls. That is because in their last two league games they have conceded 87 points while the fourth placed Bulls are in fine attacking form. The men from Laigh Bent have scored 106 points in their last two league games and also posted 48 in beating Kirkcaldy in the National League Cup last Saturday.

At the top of the table, leaders Dumfries and second placed GHK meet at Park Farm. The Saints are still smarting from their cup exit, but are unbeaten in the league ahead of the visit of Peter Wright’s men.

“After a disappointing performance we’ve worked hard this week at training to sort out a few issues and hopefully the players will bounce back this weekend,” said Dumfries head coach Euan Mack. “Games do not come much bigger than this at this stage of the season so we’re looking forward to it and I am confident we can produce a good performance.”

GHK have won five out of six since the opening day loss at Hamilton and are now just two points behind Dumfries, albeit they have played one more game. “We are looking forward to this game, both sides like to play rugby and we have trained well this week,” said skipper Cammy Hughes.

Elsewhere on Saturday, third placed Peebles will look to continue their fine form when they host Kirkcaldy. The Fifers travel to The Gytes in fifth in the table and know an away win would keep the on the coat-tails of the leading pack.

Sixth plays seventh in East Lothian when Preston Lodge host Newton Stewart, the visitors aiming to build on their win over Peebles a fortnight ago when their attack really came to the fore.

This weekend’s National League Division Two fixtures –

Dumfries Saints v GHK

Glasgow Accies v Hamilton Bulls

Gordonians v Falkirk

Peebles v Kirkcaldy

Preston Lodge v Newton Stewart

Whitecraigs v Stewart’s Melville

Current league standings –

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About Gary Heatly 439 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.