The BT Premiership returns this afternoon with Heriot’s looking to stay on top with one of their key players returning to the fold following a frustrating month out through illness.
The league leaders travel to Edinburgh rivals Boroughmuir today looking for their 11th win out of 14 matches and keen to keep their good form going as the season edges towards the business end.
Heriot’s are all but guaranteed to be in the top four play-offs for the title come March and April and stand-off Stuart Edwards has more reason then most to be excited about the run-in.
Edwards, 23, moved to the Goldenacre club last summer from Stirling County after he relocated to the capital to work as a teacher at Stewart’s Melville College. He and Gregor McNeish, who arrived at the same time from Dunfermline, have shared the No 10 duties for the side so far this season – indeed, both have done so well that they are in the Scotland Club squad.
On 6 December, McNeish started the match away to Stirling County, but Edwards was very keen to get a run-out against his former team-mates and he managed to play 35 minutes in the 29-14 victory.
However, on the morning of the game Edwards had been feeling ill and, after the match, he realised something was wrong. “I was in a bit of pain, but thought it might just be food poisoning. Thankfully, my flatmate Sean Kennedy’s girlfriend is a nurse and she told me that I should get to hospital as she thought I had appendicitis,” Edwards explained.
“It turned out that I needed to have my appendix taken out so that was a bit of a shock. I was in hospital for a few days and since then I have been laid a bit low.
“I missed the league match with Edinburgh Accies before Christmas and last week’s BT Cup win at Currie, but, having taken contact this week in training, I am looking forward to starting this weekend.”
As a stand-off, Edwards has been delighted to step into a backline at Goldenacre that includes some of the best attacking players in the club game. And Edwards believes the battle for the No 10 jersey with McNeish has helped both players raise their game.
He said: “Gregor is a really good player and we get on well. It is always good to have competition for places and we both know the job we have to do for the team when required.”
Second-placed Ayr are four points behind Heriot’s and this afternoon they are also in the capital to take on bottom side Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place.
Grant Anderson returns at full-back for the Millbrae outfit following the birth of his son last week, while Ross Curle is at stand-off after Gavin Lowe was retained by Scotland Sevens. Gala have an opportunity to avenge last week’s BT Cup thumping by Stirling County when they take on the same opponents in the league.
The match at Bridgehaugh is a key tussle in the race for the fourth and final play-off place and Gala head coach George Graham said: “Last week was possibly the worst game that Gala have played in many years and the attitude that it takes to win games was sadly lacking.
“The challenge this weekend is to restore some pride and put in a performance that is worthy of winning.”
Third-placed Melrose travel to Currie, while Hawick and Glasgow Hawks meet at Mansfield Park.