Sunday 21 September 2014

Programme Notes - Accies v Heriot's, 20 September 2014

Today we welcome Heriot’s, their President, Donald Gray, and supporters to Raeburn Place for our BT Premiership match. A big thanks and welcome also to our match officials - referee Mr Duncan McClement and assistants Mr Daniel Shaw and Mr Graeme Marshall - for without them there would be no game.

We also welcome young players from the BATs P7 mini rugby team who will provide a guard of honour and the mascot for our team today. We thank them for their presence and hope they enjoy the experience and the game.

We have had a tough start to the season – a number of injuries to key players, Nyle (or James as they kept calling him on TV) Godsmark taken for the Scottish VIIs playing in the Fira competitions (Manchester last week and Bucharest this weekend) and on the wrong side of some big pros playing for our opposition.

Never the less, we have improved over the last couple of weeks and are full of confidence for today's game against our nearest of rivals, Heriot’s, who have won two of their games so far.

This week all the BT Premiership games will be affected by the decision that Edinburgh and Glasgow should play each other next Monday in a back-up game. Consequently no club will have pros this week and most, if not all, EDPs have been pulled.

Some club players have also been summoned and congratulations go to Sam Pecqueur, who is on the bench for the Edinburgh back-up team, but will play for us this weekend. There will be another five back-up games for each pro team this season, all effecting the Premiership.

Today we attempt to get four teams out. For some reason Scottish Rugby advanced the leagues for the 3rd and 4th XVs by a week compared to last season, when things worked well. Consequently, we could not get a 3rd XV out last week as the students were not back in town. However, they are back now.

This season the 4th XV will play in the Reserve Friendly League, a league devised to try and ensure that we get games for all when clubs are struggling to get junior XVs out, partly as a result of many fixtures being away from Edinburgh.

Each week three clubs will come together and play each other in 20 minute each way 'games' - so each club will get 80 minutes. If one club does not make it, or clubs arrive short, teams will be made up from available players to play 80 minutes. This is an interesting concept, with some logistical issues to be solved, but well worth a go. I hope it works because last year's league sadly did not.

Finally, those who read my bit two weeks ago will see we are now minus that b***** lump on the 2nd XV pitch, which is good news although there is still considerable repair work to do.

I hope you all enjoy your visit to Raeburn Place, the 'cradle of rugby football in Scotland' and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.

John Wright
President, EAFC


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