Aug 24 2011 by Andrew Weston, Wishaw Press
NEW Dalziel Rugby Club skipper Graham Calder has called on his team to fight for the title this season and wants an early season marker put down at the weekend when their Premier Three campaign gets underway.
Dalziel face a tough away trip to Kirkcaldy on Saturday but hope to build on last season when they finished seventh despite an alarming mid-season slump.
Calder rejoined Dalziel in the middle of last year following stints at Currie and latterly Stirling County.
Now the scrum-half is hoping to pass on his eight years experience playing at a higher level when he captains the club’s first team this season.
“I am delighted that I was made captain and can’t wait to get started,” the 30-year-old said this week.
“I always wanted to come back to my home club.
“My late father (Alan) was a club president and captain so it does feel like coming home.
“We have trained hard and pre-season has gone well.
“We are aiming to push for the top two positions this season.
“Why not? There is no point aiming for mid-table because then you will struggle.”
He added: “Kirkcaldy will be a hard place to go on Saturday. They have got some good players and a quality New Zealander at stand-off.
“They came down from Premier Two last year and will be keen to get off to a winning start.
“But we will be up for the game, it gives us an early opportunity to set down a marker and lets other clubs see we are up for it this season.”
With no relegation or promotion out of Premier Three this year due to league restructuring, Calder feels it gives Dalziel the chance to build a side that can compete strongly for promotion the following season.
Stand-off Ross McAulay and Premier Three player of the year Steven Findlay left in the close season but the club have recruited three forwards, John Morrissey, Kris Hughes and Douglas Picken as well as centre Grant McCallum.
“I would like to think the new players will have a positive impact and add to the team,” Calder said.
“We wanted to bring in a couple of forwards who were going to bring some added aggression and a strong work ethic.
“We also have stand-off John Harris who is an exceptional young talent and, hopefully, he can come into his own. Andy Scott from the under-18s will push him for the fly-half position as well.
“So this season will be an opportunity for the young players to stand up but I would still expect us to try and aim for the top.
“Lasswade have come up from the league below and have spent a lot of money and GHA have got a couple of ex-professionals playing for them.
“I would expect them to be the bookies favourites.”