Rugby: Scots clubs asked to get creative in response to fixture backlog

SCOTLAND'S rugby clubs are being urged to clear a fixture backlog by 'borrowing' floodlight time from neighbouring outfits.

That's one option being put forward today by Championship convener David Mackie in calling for imaginative solutions.

Mackie, a former Melrose and Leith Accies back row forward, is keen to encourage dialogue between clubs so as to avoid the type of problems that beset the Scottish Cup in particular last season when ties had to be awarded in some instances when replay dates couldn't be agreed. Mackie said: "One difference this season is that so far as the Scottish Cup is concerned there is provision for determining who goes through in the event of a tie not being played by cutting cards.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Obviously that is one outcome to be avoided if at all possible but playing off Scottish Cup ties has to have priority because we are working to a fixed schedule. Overall, though, things might not be as bad as they seem because although there has been a lot of inactivity much of the bad weather has occurred during the two-week festive break anyway." The final of the Cup and its ancillary tournaments is set for Saturday, 24 April.

Mackie added: "So far as replaying league matches are concerned more flexibility can apply.

"One solution in all instances might be to play midweek under lights and it may help if clubs who have this facility were able to agree to stage double-headers involving another couple of teams.

"The Championship committee are due to meet next Monday, 18 January, with the possibility of convening earlier if necessary.

"But I'd like to see dialogue between clubs as early as possible because, in almost every instance, if they can sort out a replay date between them we won't intervene."

Mackie, who lives in Edinburgh but is a sheriff in Alloa, stresses the need for a common-sense approach to traditional cross- border friendlies between clubs around the time of the Six Nations Championship starting next month.

"Some clubs will be keen to head to Wales to fulfil long-standing fixtures and others may have English guests heading north expecting to play.

"These games cannot be given the same priority as fulfilling league and knock-out fixtures so, hopefully, clubs will plan ahead and give warning or else organise a schedule that allows for both."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ayr president Billy McHarg has suggested cancelling the Scottish Cup but his club are in the unique position of also competing in the new British and Irish Cup where they have two fixtures looming with Premiership contests to be re-arranged accordingly.

There are currently 15 games outstanding in Premiership Division One with hopes high that there might be a resumption this weekend.