Melrose host Stirling County in BT Charity Shield curtain raiser
Defending league-cup double winners, Melrose, will welcome Cup runners-up, Stirling County, to the Greenyards for the BT Charity Shield on Saturday 25 August (kick-off 3pm).
The match, now in its fifth year, takes place the week before the opening round of the Tennent’s Premiership (Saturday 1 September).
The teams last faced each other at BT Murrayfield at the inaugural Silver Saturday in April where a record BT Cup Finals Day attendance saw the Borderers complete the double, winning 45-12.
This season marks Melrose’s fourth appearance in the BT Charity Shield, having won the last two, and they are targeting a third successive win to get off to a flying start for the 2018/19 season.
Heriot’s were the last team to contest the BT Charity Shield following a double, in 2016, but were unable to back-up their historic season with more silverware when they lost to current holders, Melrose.
Last year’s match, between Melrose and Ayr at Millbrae, produced some hugely entertaining rugby and a flurry of tries as the away side recorded a 44-31 win.
The Borderers will take the opportunity to test their squad in a competitive match.
Melrose Head Coach, Rob Chrystie, said: “Everyone is excited at Melrose Rugby to host Stirling County for this year’s charity shield.
“This fixture is ideal preparation for the following week with the start of the league season.
"It is a fully competitive fixture with silverware up for grabs but it also allows us the flexibility to look at a few different combinations.”
County will be making their first appearance challenging for the trophy, following their first national final in the BT Cup last season.
The Caledonia side are looking forward to challenging Melrose at the Greenyards in what promises to be an exciting encounter.
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 last competitive outing resulted in a cup final loss at BT Murrayfield to Melrose and the players are again looking forward to a physical, skilful challenge from a well drilled, highly motivated side.
“Our pre-season has been good so far with the players working extremely hard in the gym and on the training ground.”
County’s squad will be boosted by the addition of Fosroc Scottish Rugby Academt Stage 3 forwards, Murphy Walker and Cameron Henderson, who have both represented Scotland at age-grade level.
Ally Mackie and George Arnott also join their squad from Dundee while Andrew Goudie from GHA will be looking to cement a place in the starting line-up at stand-off.
Craig Pringle, Bruce Sorbie and Andrew Grant Suttie all return from long term injuries last season to add depth to the Stirling squad.
Tickets 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, 3pm
Previous BT Charity Shield Matches
2017: Ayr 31-44 Melrose
2016: Heriot’s 7-36 Melrose
2015: Heriot’s 28-25 Boroughmuir
2014: Melrose 28-36 Heriot’s