BT Charity Shield PREVIEW | Melrose v Stirling County

Melrose and Stirling County will play a cup final rematch as they aim to get their seasons off to a flying start in the BT Charity Shield (Saturday 25 August, kick-off 3pm).

Stirling County travel to the Greenyards following a mixed 2017/18 season which saw them reach their first ever national cup final but battle with inconsistent performances in last year’s BT Premiership.

With new coach, Eddie Pollock, at the helm and a strong set of summer signings, which includes Scotland age-grade internationals, the Caledonia side will be hopeful of more reliable form this term.

Stirling County Head Coach, Eddie Pollock, said: “We're delighted to have another opportunity to lock horns with Melrose, last year’s double winners and the team everyone will be trying to match in the coming season.

Our pre-season has been good so far with the players working extremely hard in the gym and on the training ground, but we will need to go up a gear in this first competitive fixture of the season to match a Melrose side full of young players looking to make a good impression on Rob Chrystie.”

The Borders outfit had anything but mixed results last year, losing only three matches, including a 12-game unbeaten streak in the league.

They were imperious in the BT Cup final on Silver Saturday, recording a 45-12 win, and were clinical in a close-fought BT Premiership final, edging out Ayr 16-13.

As a result, they will be the team to beat as the season gets underway and they know how strong the challenge they face this weekend will be.

Melrose Head Coach, Rob Chrystie, said: “Stirling, as always, will bring a well-balanced squad and Eddie will have prepared them well.

With the added incentive of silverware, this is sure to be a strongly contested fixture which is ideal preparation for the Tennent’s Premiership.”

Melrose’s team mixes youth and experience with Scotland U20 teammates, Rory Darge and Patrick Anderson, in the starting line-up.

Michael Muelace-Julyan is given his first opportunity on the wing while Calum Crookshanks takes a place in the squad following a spell in New Zealand.

Tickets for the match will be available on the gate (Adults £10, Concessions £5) and proceeds will be donated to School of Hard Knocks.

Melrose v Stirling County, the Greenyards, Saturday 25 August, kick-off 3pm

Melrose: Fraser Thomson; Gavin Wood, Patrick Anderson, Thomas Klein, Michael Muelace-Julyan; Craig Jackson, Murdo McAndrew; Grant Shiels, Russell Anderson, Ruairi McLeod, Aaron Welsh, Angus Runciman, Ruaridh Knott, Rory Darge, Grant Runciman CAPTAIN

Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Calum Crookshank, Ian Moody, Struan Hutchinson, David Colvine

Stirling County: Jonny Hope CAPTAIN; Matt Lamb, Ewan Magarvie, Grant Hughes, Charlie Dineen; Andrew Goudie, Peter Jerecivich; Remy Chies, Reyner Kennedy, Murphy Walker, James Pow, Stef Yarrow, Hamilton Burr, Shaun McDonald, Alasdair Mackie

Replacements: Blair Gilchrist, Gary Holborn, Cameron Henderson, George Arnott, Craig Robertson