RBS National League Rugby: Former city giants in top-of-the-table clash
ONE of the matches of the day in Scottish rugby this afternoon is in the RBS National League where two of the leading clubs in the game just over a decade ago come head-to-head at Myreside.
Watsonians won the official Division One Championship in 1997-98 and their success helped to fuel the desire at Anniesland to form Glasgow Hawks and produce a strong west coast force in the Scottish game. The Hawks won the Division Two championship that season and claimed the Scottish Cup title and went on to win three successive Division One championships from 2004 to 2006.
But both clubs struggled to cope as professionalism took hold with the district teams in Scotland and more players who had come through the Anniesland and Myreside ranks hoping to become professionals either joined the pro sides here or left for pastures new.
Watsonians slipped down into the second division in 2011 and the Hawks followed this year, but both have regrouped effectively, despite losing leading players, and are heading the charge back to the top flight. The Glasgow outfit edged victory 12-9 on the opening day of the season at Anniesland, and proceeded to thump most opponents until three weeks ago when they met Stewart’s Melville, and were humbled 14-11. They were then held at home by Hawick, 16-16, before rediscovering some of their flair in a 38-15 win away to Hillhead-Jordanhill last weekend.
Under former Scotland centre Marcus Di Rollo, the Edinburgh club responded to their opening-day defeat with a stunning 78-3 demolition of Jed-Forest at Riverside Park, and have since won every game, posting 113 points in their last two, so they sit top, though only by two points from Hawks. Only the league champions will be automatically promoted, but the second-placed side will play-off against whoever finishes second bottom in the Premiership, so both could return to the top flight next year. Today’s meeting will go a long way to determining who wins the automatic place, and who faces a nervy one-off match at a neutral venue, and so one can expect some early Myreside fireworks.
Elsewhere, third-placed Hawick host Stewart’s Melville, Selkirk, currently in fourth, are away to Kelso, Hillhead/Jordanhill welcome Jed-Forest and Hamilton are at Biggar, bidding to escape the relegation dogfight.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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