Dalziel Rugby Club league opener scuppered by coronavirus fears

Dalziel Rugby Club were denied the chance to launch their Tennent’s West Division 2 campaign on Saturday due to a coronavirus scare.

Graham Calder is targeting league glory this season

One of the Dalziel players was awaiting the result of a PCR test, so the scheduled game at Wigtownshire had to be called off on Friday night.

Dalziel head coach Graham Calder told the Times and Speaker: “The result came back negative but it wasn’t through on time before the game.

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"So we didn’t want to put our team-mates, the opposition and even the bus driver and all the club volunteers at risk.

"I’m relieved the test result was negative because at the end of the day all that matters is people being safe and everybody’s ok.

"I think it’s inevitable that Dalziel and other clubs will experience this type of thing throughout the season, there’s no doubt about it.

"Our game against Wigtownshire is going to be rescheduled and I think games will be added onto the end of the season.

"We’re going to have to live with it but before the season started there was an agreement across the country that as long as 60 per cent of games were played then the results in the league stand this time.”

Last weekend’s goings on mean that Dalziel are now due to begin their 2021-22 league campaign at home to Oban Lorne this Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

And Calder, who felt the team would have gone on to win the 2019-20 league had it not been null and voided – Dalziel were second after 13 games, 15 points behind leaders Strathaven with four games in hand – thinks they have a very good shot at finishing top this season.

"We absolutely are looking at getting a title win this season,” he said.

"Our goal is to win the league, go up as champions and finish off the job we started pre-Covid.

"The strength of the team is the fact that we’ve now been together for the last two or three years.

"Albeit through Covid, we’ve still trained really hard and the boys are improving all the time.

"They understand the game plan, they understand the tactics and we now have a better strength in depth in relation to our squad.

"Oban Lorne this Saturday will be a challenge. They were our toughest games the last time we were playing competitive rugby.

"We had to play exceptionally well to beat them at home last time.

"But if we manage to prepare properly – which I’m sure we will – then I’m confident we’ll win again.”

Meanwhile, Dalziel’s local rivals Uddingston Rugby Club were able to begin their league season as planned last Saturday, when they recorded a 45-14 defeat at Strathaven, also in West Division 2.

Uddingston have a home fixture against Waysiders/Drumpellier in the league this Saturday, kick-off 3pm.