Cup Finalists Come To Murrayfield

Scottish Rugby hosted the captains of the Scottish Hydro Premier Cup, National Shield and Regional Bowl today as they made final preparations for the climax of the 2009/10 season, cup finals day this Saturday 24 April (tickets to see all three finals cost just £10 for adults and £5 for concessions).

Ayr and Melrose go head to head in the Scottish Hydro Premier Cup final which, for the first time, will be a league and cup double-header.

Victory for the Millbrae men will not only see them lift the Premier Cup but will maintain their position alongside league leaders Currie, though they first must overcome a strong Melrose outfit playing in their third successive cup final.

Scottish Rugby hosted the captains of the Scottish Hydro Premier Cup, National Shield and Regional Bowl today as they made final preparations for the climax of the 2009/10 season, cup finals day this Saturday 24 April (tickets for all three finals cost just £10 for adults and £5 for concessions).

Ayr and Melrose go head to head in the Scottish Hydro Premier Cup final which, for the first time, will be a league and cup double-header.

Victory for the Millbrae men will not only see them lift the Premier Cup but will maintain their position alongside league leaders Currie, though they first must overcome a strong Melrose outfit playing in their third successive cup final.

Ayr captain, Damien Kelly, said: “Most importantly it’s our first time in a final so we’re concentrating on it much more as a cup final than a league game which is just an added bonus if we get the points.

“The final means a lot to our supporters who have been selling a lot of tickets and a lot of the shops are carrying pink and black banners. There are a lot of people heading for the final so it’s very exciting.”

Melrose captain, Scott Wight, added: “It’s a big occasion and a big day out for the club. We’ve been here twice before and hopefully we’ll be on the right end of the result on Saturday.

“Our game against Ayr in the league was probably the one game we’ve been well beaten in this year. They play the right rugby in the right areas of the field but we know what they’ve got to offer so we have to address those problems throughout the week and get that right – individually it’s up to us to get ourselves right for the Cup final.”

MELROSE v AYR (kick-off 4pm)
Head to head this season:
Ayr 34-15 Melrose (*only one league match played)

MELROSE
R1 Peebles 9-12 Melrose
R2 Melrose 67-3 Falkirk
QF Perthshire 12-24 Melrose
SF Melrose 31-8 Currie

AYR
R1 Musselburgh 9-31 Ayr
R2 Ayr 77-15 Stewart’s Melville
QF Ayr 32-0 Gala
SF Ayr 23-14 Heriot’s

Scottish Hydro National 2 sides Lasswade and Greenock Wanderers dispensed of six National 1 sides between them en route to the final, including runaway National 1 league leaders Whitecraigs and Dalziel in their respective Shield semi-finals.

Their efforts mean that National 2 champions Wanderers will face league rivals Lasswade for the third time this season with much more than bragging rights at stake.

Greenock Wanderers captain, David Watson, said “It means a huge amount to everyone: players, supporters and the town as a whole.

“We expect another incredibly hard game against Lasswade, both games have been tight and very close towards the end, we know they’re very aggressive but we’re relishing the challenge.”

Lasswade captain, Mark Billingham, added: “Without a doubt ourselves and Greenock have been playing the best rugby in National 2.

“It’ll a be massive challenge for us, Greenock have a big pack that dominated Dalziel in the semi-final which is something we’ve been looking at. We need to keep our set play pretty tight – it’s a battle from the front.”

LASSWADE v GREENOCK WANDERERS (kick-off 2pm)
Head to head this season:
Greenock Wanderers 16-6 Lasswade, Lasswade 15-13 Greenock Wanderers

LASSWADE
PR Lasswade 35-7 Highland
R1 Lasswade 35-5 Hillfoots
R2 Linlithgow 19-23 Lasswade
QF Ellon 19-27 Lasswade
SF Lasswade 14-10 Whitecraigs

GREENOCK WANDERERS
R1 Lenzie 10-16 Greenock Wanderers
R2 Livingston 22-33 Greenock Wanderers
QF Greenock Wanderers 34-3 Annan
SF Greenock Wanderers 30-16 Dalziel

In the opening final of the day East meets Caledonia in the Regional Bowl final, as recently crowned Scottish Hydro East 1 champions North Berwick take on Strathmore.

North Berwick captain, Cameron Ewer, said: “We’ve had some pretty tight games throughout the season like our fantastic semi-final battle against Duns, eventually winning by a point, so I think the guys’ heads will be right.

“We’re expecting another physical encounter and, having come through on the right side of some tough games, we’ll certainly be looking to take the experience into the final.

“For us it’s not just about the senior boys and the 15 guys on the park, it’s a match for the local community. I’m sure it will be a fantastic day.”

Strathmore scrum-half, Gary Wood, added: We have a good back-row that’s always there at the breakdown. We’ll try and play off quick ball, not get snagged up at the rucks and spin the ball wide. Murrayfield’s a wide pitch so hopefully our wide boys can do a job for us.

“It’s a massive day for any club coming to Murrayfield, whether it’s the bowl, shield or cup. It’s big, it’s finals day and you just have just got to enjoy it.”

NORTH BERWICK v STRATHMORE (kick-off 12 noon)

NORTH BERWICK
R1 Liberton 0-93 North Berwick
R2 North Berwick 23-14 Portobello
R3 Earlston 10-12 North Berwick
QF Mackie 13-39 North Berwick
SF North Berwick 21-20 Duns

STRATHMORE
R1 Fife Southern 5-12 Strathmore
R2 Strathmore 23-0 St Andrew’s University
R3 Strathmore 21-6 Harris Academy
QF Strathmore 29-5 Grangemouth
SF Wigtownshire 0-22 Strathmore