IF THE annual round of prelim exams makes it difficult to arrange matches in the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Plate, Bowl and girls competitions then the habitually hostile weather in January renders that task a near impossibility.
As a result, the organisers of the competition at Murrayfield have abandoned plans to hold all the finals this Saturday. These will now be played not as a collective group of matches on the same day but as and when the finalists in each competition are eventually determined.
Having tried for one season before abandoning staging the Cup final on a Saturday – following the belated realisation that schools fans and parents also like to watch club rugby at weekends – it did seem strange that the SRU should think that this did not apply to the other Brewin Dolphin tiers. Another difficulty with a Saturday finals day is that for many state school players, it is the local club that provides the greater part of their rugby experience. And that means turning out at weekends.
Galashiels Academy, one such school affected by many of its players being involved in club rugby (Gala Wanderers in this case), have re-arranged their under-18 Plate semi-final against Madras College on the back pitch at Netherdale for a week tomorrow after attempts to play the game last week were thwarted by low temperatures that made even the all-weather pitch at Gala Fairydean unusable.
The other under-18 Plate semi final between Kelvinside Academy and Marr College was also affected by the wintry weather last weekend but the match has been rearranged for a week on Saturday when the two sides were due to meet in a friendly. At under-16 level, the wait is now on for the Bell-Baxter High School v Wellington School semi-final to be played, the winners of which will play Jedburgh Grammar School in the final.
In the Bowl competition, tomorrow’s under-18 semi-final between Peebles High and Williamwood High has been postponed because of snow. The East Renfrewshire school will now have two teams in Bowl semi finals after their under-16 team were given a free ride into the last four following the decision by Wick High School reluctantly to forfeit the quarter-final tie.
“It’s very disappointing for us to have to do this but there is a lot of pressure on the boys just now with prelims. And with the weather not looking good we couldn’t guarantee playing the game in the next three weeks,” said Wick High School’s rugby co-ordinator, Jane Grant.
Williamwood High now have a semi-final against Selkirk High. The other semi-final will be between Buckhaven High and McLaren High.