Men’s Premiership & National 1 Preview | Saturday 16 December
All you need to know ahead of four rescheduled fixtures this weekend in both the men's Premiership and National League Division 1.
Currie Chieftains v Glasgow Hawks – Malleny Park, 2pm
At separate ends of the table, both sides could climb up one place in the standings with a win tomorrow.
Currie sit in third, five points behind Marr with a superior points difference and a game in hand, whilst Hawks are second bottom but have two games in hand on third bottom Selkirk, who are just two points ahead.
The two sides met in Glasgow last weekend, with Currie coming out 16-12 winners.
Currie Chieftains Head Coach Mark Cairns said: “In the pack Kyle Steel replaces the unavailable Rhys Davies. In the backs, Callum Beckett gets his first start
after impressing in training and for the 2s last weekend.
“We were very happy with the result last week in pretty tough conditions against a strong Hawks team. It’s the 2nd leg this week and it provides an opportunity for both teams to make changes and try to improve on last week’s performance.
“On our part, I was pleased with our kicking game and set-piece but our 22m
execution needs to be better.”
Glasgow Hawks Head Coach Andy Hill added: “We’ve made a few changes due to injuries sustained last weekend. Stephen Leckey popped his shoulder so senior academy player Harris McLeod comes in to replace him. Marcus Goodwin sustained a concussion and with Eben Cairns returning from holiday he comes in to start at tight head. Lewis Stewart is available so comes in to start at 8 while Ryan Howie swaps roles with JP Thomson for this weekend.
“The backs are largely unchanged other than Harry Provan comes in for Ryan Flett as he has been working away all week.
“On the bench Wayne Burrows and Ben Skinner come in after impressing with the 2s last weekend while Fraser Muir returns from his holiday.
“It’s not very often you get the chance to play a team back-to-back, so it makes it important we address and rectify the things that Currie were better than us at last week, while also looking to build on our own strengths and what we believe will help us to win the game.
“For us it’s simple things – Currie played in the right areas and took the points when they were available. We have to play the conditions better than we did last week and have more of a ruthless edge.
“Currie will target our set piece so it’s vital we are strong here and match them up front as inevitably that is where these games are won and lost.”
Kelso v Marr – Poynder Park, 2pm
Marr will be looking to draw level on points with league leaders Hawick, who do not have a game this weekend, and claw narrow the 135-point gap in their respective points differences when they travel to Kelso, who could themselves get into the top half with victory.
Marr sit five points off first place, whilst Kelso are in seventh but are just four points behind Heriot’s in fifth.
Both sides were victorious last weekend, with a narrow 17-13 home win for Marr against Accies and a 27-0 away win for Kelso at Selkirk.
Marr were 48-14 winners in the first fixture between the two at Fullarton Park earlier in the season.
Jed-Forest v Heriot’s Blues – Riverside Park, 3pm
Heriot’s Blues have the chance to climb into the playoff places when they travel to bottom side Jed-Forest.
Jed will be seeking a first win of the season, whilst Heriot’s are chasing down a one-point gap between themselves and fourth-placed Musselburgh.
Jed-Forest Coach Ross Goodfellow said: “This is our last home game this year so we will be pushing hard to try and get our first win.
“We have a few injuries and players unavailable this week, but that’s been the case all season. But we will give it our best shot.”
Heriot’s Blues Head Coach Phil Smith added: “I get the sense from a number of clubs that this is becoming a fixture too far after a tough few months. However, it is also a very important fixture for us if we want to keep up our hopes of being in the top four alive.
“While Jed maybe haven’t had the season they want, they are still a proud club who will undoubtedly doing everything they can to get the win. This means we need to be ‘on it’ from the first kick off.”
Musselburgh v Selkirk – Stoneyhill, 3pm
Musselburgh will be looking to retain the Bill McLaren Shield whilst they fight to hang on to the final playoff place, whilst Selkirk will be looking to close the gap between themselves and Kelso.
The ‘Burgh are 11 points behind Currie in third, but just one point above Heriot’s in fifth.
Selkirk are in eighth, ten points behind seventh-placed Kelso having played a game more.
Musselburgh Head Coach Derek O’Riordan said: “Last Saturday’s loss leaves us no room for error going into our final block of games.
“In a lot of ways that brings us back to last season in our fight for survival. Whilst occupying fourth is far cry from where we were we recognise it as a privilege and not a right but it’s something we don’t want to give up easy.
“Equally, we want to keep Bill at the ‘Hill so we not in short supply of motivation for the weekend.”
In the men’s National League Division 1, Watsonians could jump up as many as three places with a win over GHA.
Dundee will look to pull away from the bottom of the table with a win when they host Melrose, who themselves could jump up into second.
Biggar have a chance to jump a remarkable four places with a bonus point win away to Glasgow Academicals.
And it’s top against bottom as unbeaten Ayr host GHK, who could get off the bottom with a win.
This week, Watsonians v GHA kicks off at 1.30pm. Dundee v Melrose and Biggar v Glasgow Accies are at 2pm, whilst Ayr v GHK is at 3pm.