- Marr consolidated their position at the top of the table with a workmanlike performance down at Philiphaugh. It was heavy going – but they focused on their basics. Ball retention was maybe the critical factor – but they also defended stoutly – and they took whatever chances came their way, with Conor Bickerstaff oozing class all afternoon. Four to go – and a grand finale to the regular season against Hawick at Fullarton on 14th of March. That should be some game!
- After a miserable December, Currie Chieftains started the New Year with a bang against Glasgow Hawks in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Malleny. Eight tries and the bonus point in the bag by half-time – it was a hugely encouraging statement of intent, with old warhorse Mike Vernel reportedly on ‘gazelle-like’ form. A home slot in the play-offs very much there for the taking.
- The Hawick forwards screwed their Accies counterparts into the Mansfield mud – with Shawn Muir again outstanding and Daniel Suddon improving with every game. Their back-row of Jae Linton, Stuart Graham and Billy McNeil totally dominated the break-down and defended ultra-aggressively with big hits all over the park. Young wingers Lewis Ferguson and Logan Gordon Wooley showed up well – but centres Wiaan Grieenow and Andrew Mitchell were hampered by Ali Weir’s tendency to drift. It’s looking good – and it could be even better.
- Aberdeen Grammar, who were back to something like full strength after their bad run of injuries and their students disappearing for Christmas, had to work very hard for their somewhat fortuitous win over GHA at Braidholm. But in this game you tend to make your own luck. Keeping a clean sheet after the break and stealing the only try of the second half was enough to propel them into the box-seat for the fourth play-off slot. With their remaining three fixtures being against Chieftains (away), Hawick (home) and Marr (away) it is not going to be easy – but the best of luck to them.
- Jed-Forest started well enough at Stoneyhill with well taken tries from Garry Young and Rory Marshall – but then lost their way badly – nonplussed perhaps by Musselburgh’s belligerent intent. They did, however, manage to stage a late rally and salvage a try bonus point – which could be crucial in what looks like a fairly tough run-in – GHA (away), Chieftains (away) and Hawick (home).
- One that got away so far as GHA were concerned against Aberdeen at Braidholm. They were unaccountably denied what looked like a perfectly good try on the stroke of half time – they crossed the whitewash three times in the second half and somehow failed to ground the ball properly on each occasion – and they ran several kickable second half penalties when going for goal might have been the better option. With the play-offs now maybe out of reach, the priority has to be keeping themselves clear of the relegation dog-fight – which might be a problem if they lose to Hawks in next Saturday’s rearranged fixture.
- Well done Musselburgh! They have left it late – but they grabbed a vital lifeline with their excellent bonus point win over Jed. Paul Cunningham was at the heart of it – and Freddie Roddick came off the bench after 10 minutes to play a blinder and score two tries in the process – but it was essentially a team effort. ‘Front-foot ball was key. We had some really hard carries that gave us the chance to play rugby, and we kept hold of the ball well’ – simple as that according to Graeme Paterson. With Selkirk (home), GHA (away) and Chieftains (home), there is still work to do – but destiny is still very much in their own hands.
- Tough going for Edinburgh Accies at Mansfield. Their scrum struggled – and though it did not crack it did keep them constantly on the back foot. They defended manfully throughout the first half but they ran out of steam and lost their defensive shape soon after the break – and paid for it. Five home games left – Marr, Chieftaina and Hawick which will all be difficult – Selkirk and Hawks which they must win.
- A bad day for Glasgow Hawks. They never got off the bus against Chieftains at Malleny – and were driven down to the bottom of the table (well below Accies on points differential with Accies having a game in hand) by Musselburgh’s stunning victory over Jed. Their home fixture against GHA rearranged for next Saturday could now be decisive – even before they go head to head with Accies at Raeburn Place in the last game of the season.
How it stands –