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Rugby Club Scene: Edinburgh club are still refusing to buckle despite a series of heavy defeats this season and the ridicule of those eager to pile on the agony

These have been a difficult few weeks for Lismore, one of Edinburgh's long-running grassroots organisations.

They have discovered in the most brutal fashion what happens when you run out of fit or available players.

On successive Saturdays late last month, the Inch Park club were beaten 133-0 by Dalkeith and 148-0 by Berwick: the sort of results which testify to the manner in which they have been stricken by injury problems and the absence of so many personnel at the same time. Yet, anyone inclined to mock or indulge in cheap jokes should beware the wrath of Lismore's redoubtable president, Murdo Gillanders, or their dervish of a captain, Davvy Macivor, whose charges have continued to struggle this month. They have gone down 49-10 away and 43-0 to Earlston and Forrester, which means they have conceded 363 points in their last four matches.

They are heavy losses in anybody's language, but, as Gillanders responded, if amateur sports teams simply pulled out of games whenever an injury crisis erupted, rugby would be in an even sicklier state than it is in Scotland at the moment.

"We have recruited more than 40 players this season and have more than 70 senior male players registered [in addition to a women's team]," he said. "However, as a consequence of our horrendous injury list, we have 24 players currently injured and we had another 30 players unavailable [against Berwick] for assorted reasons. I believe that the club deserves credit for fulfilling these fixtures and that the players demonstrated the true spirit of rugby and it does nobody any good to ridicule their efforts. In fact, I defy you to name any club in this country that could raise a competitive first XV with more than 50 players unavailable."

Macivor, a tough-tackling blindside flanker, who has been landed with the unenviable task of attempting to keep his team motivated while opponents have amassed cricket scores, was equally disinclined to mince his words. But it is surely a reflection of the spirit which exists within the ranks that, even as he analysed the thorny question of how any captain can urge his players not to buckle in a blitz, Macivor stressed his belief that Lismore will avoid relegation from the second division of the RBS East League.

"I am not going to spout any bull about what you can say at half-time when your opponents have already scored 12 tries and you are 60-0 down," said Macivor. "The reality is that we have never been decimated to this extent before and I have been at Lismore for the last 10 years. But I definitely don't think we are out of the league.

"In the Earlston match, we only had one sub and he had to come on quite early, so things are not running in our favour just now. But we will have a few guys returning after Christmas, and although we are bottom of the table just now, we have Penicuik and Edinburgh Northern in the New Year and we are targeting these games."

It is easy to sympathise with Lismore's efforts to retain their positivity. And they have sufficient pride and commitment to rally from their current travails in the future. However, Macivor admits, there might be some fresh pain before they can transform matters. "We have to get out of this situation by our own efforts," he said. "If it wasn't for the number of injuries we have suffered, we wouldn't be in the position we are. But we have to forget about trying anything flash."

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