National League Rugby: Borthwick confident Stewart’s Melville can climb table

Seven days on from reaching the milestone of 200 first XV appearances for Stewart’s Melville, Richard Borthwick hopes his side can build on the victory over Kelso when they travel to Hamilton in the RBS National League this afternoon.

Winger Borthwick made his first appearance for the Inverleith side’s top team against Ross High soon after leaving school in September 2002 and has been an almost constant presence in their line-up ever since. He has seen some highs and lows in the last decade and played with some great players such as Ross Rennie, Richie Vernon and Ross Samson. He was on the scoresheet in their 43-31 win over Kelso last week, the Edinburgh club’s first success of the campaign.

Ahead of the trip to Laigh Bent today, he said: “Last week was massively important given the poor start we have had. Hopefully the win will give us the confidence to build and move up the table. It’s a very competitive league and even the teams at the top will drop points so we need to get some consistency over the next few weeks and start to climb up the table.”

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For Stewart’s Melville, Mike Hanning keeps the No 10 jersey after a good display last week while back-row Phil Hendry has to make do with a place on the bench having missed the Kelso match as he was best man at his brother’s wedding.

Hamilton also got their first win of the season last week, away at Jed-Forest, and head coach Dale Lyon said: “Points at home are vital, so it is now important that we continue our progress with another improved performance as we host Stewart’s Melville.”

Top plays bottom at Old Anniesland with Glasgow Hawks hosting Jed-Forest.

For the unbeaten Hawks, experienced back-rows Rory McKay and Grant Strang come back into the squad as they look to make it six wins from six.

Second-placed Watsonians take on third-placed Selkirk at Myreside in what has the makings of a cracker.

Tom Wright replaces Danny Moussa at hooker for the Edinburgh side with Fraser Harkness back at full-back for Selkirk and young Alan Lambie starting in the second-row after good showings for the seconds.

Kelso take on Hawick in a Border derby at Poynder Park with the Greens still buzzing after last week’s rout of Biggar.

Hillhead/Jordanhill travel to ninth-placed Biggar on the back of three straight losses.