Berwick gear up for 640-mile round trip

Berwick RFC collect the border regional sheild
Berwick RFC collect the border regional sheild

Berwick Rugby Club are just one step away from an appearance in a national final.

But before they can start planning for the SRU Plate Final at Easter, there is a small hurdle to overcome this weekend in the shape of a 640-mile round trip to Caithness in the semi’s.

And coach Colin Young is playing things down, as he doesn’t want his players to think it is a foregone conclusion.

“We have had a great season so far,” said Young. “We have finished runners-up in our league (East League 2) and have already lifted the Border Shield, which they officially received on Saturday.

“The players will go into the match against Caithness in a positive frame of mind, but I don’t want them to be over-confident.

“For a game like this it is all about preparation. We are travelling up to Inverness where we will stay overnight on Friday. Then on Saturday we will make the two hour journey through to Caithness for the match.

“We will treat them with every respect, but we want to win, because as we said some weeks ago, to get to the Finals Day would be the icing on the cake as far as we are concerned.”

Berwick’s build-up to the game was hampered at the weekend when their final qualifying game, at home to Earlston, was postponed, because the opposition said they couldn’t raise a side.

“It was a blow,” said Young, “because we wanted to keep the players ticking over.

“If we win and reach the final that will be great, if we lose, we will shake their hands, but we will be disappointed.”

As a player with Berwick, Young twice reached Finals Day at Murrayfield - in 1998 when they lost to Selkirk in the Plate, and 2004 when they beat Glasgow, also in the Plate.

But this year’s final, on April 19 - against either Preston Lodge or Irvine - will not be at the national stadium, as it is currently closed to enable a new pitch to be laid.

“There is a tinge of sadness in that respect,” admitted Young, “because Murrayfield is the home of Scottish Rugby.”