FOUR matches went ahead in National Leagues One, Two and Three on Saturday, the day before the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) suspension of all domestic rugby came into effect.

In the only National One match, Boroughmuir beat Gala 46-0 at Queensferry Sports Hub to boost their hopes of avoiding relegation. With two clubs going down, Boroughmuir are still second bottom, eight points behind Ayr. But they have a game in hand, and, having also beaten Kelso a week earlier, appear to have found some form just at the right time.

“That performance was first class,” head coach Richard Sievwright said after a bonus-point win that took his side 11 points clear of bottom club Dundee HSFP. “There was a lot that clicked, we applied pressure in the right areas of the pitch and defended well. We've had some tough results, but the players are always positive and performance driven.

“We'll take some confidence from this and work hard to improve as a team by focusing on ourselves, just as we have done all season. There's been some consistency in selection recently and the team as a whole have started to connect by knowing their roles.”

The one consolation for Gala from such a heavy defeat is that they remain safely in mid-table in the 12-team division. Boroughmuir, meanwhile, have four games still to play, although of course right now they have no way of knowing when those games will take place.

The suspension, which was announced as a response to the coronavirus situation and officially began at 6pm yesterday (Sunday), will remain in effect up to and including Sunday 29th March - but as things stand there is clearly a possibility it will remain in force for far longer.

In National Two, Stewart’s-Melville extended their advantage at the top of the table to seven points with a 45-8 home win over Newton Stewart. It was a fifth win in a row for the Edinburgh club, but they were only 7-3 up at the break and had to make a couple of tactical changes before pulling away in the second half.

“In the end the scoreboard makes this look like a straightforward win for us, but it was anything but,” Stewart’s-Melville head coach Jonny Else insisted. “Newton Stewart were excellent in the first half and played with real dynamism, pace and width. I had warned our players before kick-off that they were a really good side and they were extremely dangerous with the ball, a couple of last-ditch tackles kept them out as our defence was stretched at times.

“After a couple of tactical changes at half-time, we pressed the reset button and played much better than the first half. We don’t know what will happen for the rest of the season, but the second-half performance was very impressive given how good Newton Stewart are.”

Had they won, sixth-placed Newton Stewart would have got back into the fringes of the promotion battle. The fight for the two spots in next season’s National One is being dominated at present by Stew-Mel, Dumfries and Peebles. The latter two are on 64 points, but Peebles have a game in hand on the two clubs above them. Fourth-placed GHK, who lost 22-19 to Gordonians on Friday night, are a further six points behind.

At the foot of the table, Whitecraigs are now a dozen points adrift after losing 59-5 to Hamilton Bulls in the other match played on Saturday. Hamilton are eighth in the table and safe from relegation.

In the only match to go ahead in National Three, Perthshire beat Strathmore 28-24. Perthshire remain second bottom, but have two games in hand on Caithness, who are now only two points ahead of them. Strathmore are safe in mid-table.