DOMESTIC rugby in Scotland – as in the tiers below international and full-time professional – finally returned from the long Covid lay-off in late July, when the second ‘inaugural’ Super6 season kicked off with Boroughmuir Bears securing a dramatic win over capital city rivals Heriot’s on a Friday night under the lights at Meggetland. 

That keenly contested affair set the tone for the competition, which clearly benefitted from matches being played in better weather between late summer and mid-Autumn, with a series of tense and entertaining encounters finally leading to a gripping final in whicb Ayrshire Bulls despatched Southern Knights at the DAM Health Stadium to become deserved champions. 

Whether this new league will ever get proper buy-in beyond the walls of Murrayfield and the competing teams remains to be seen. What we do know for certain is that for as long as Mark Dodson remains chief executive of Scottish Rugby, Super6 will continue to be promoted and invested in at a level which was never previously provided to the Premiership. In fact, Dodson is aggressively looking to expand the league, with London Scottish canvassing membership about the prospect of throwing their eggs into that basket. 

The rest of the club game eased out of hibernation in early September with Premiership favourites Currie Chieftains coming a cropper at Hawick in week one before embarking on a 12-match winning streak which sees them nine points clear of Marr at the summit of the table as 2021 finishes. It has been a tough old season for Aberdeen Grammar at the other end of the league, and they already look sunk, although they did pick up one morale-boosting win over Glasgow Hawks in late November. 

Watsonians pipped Hillhead Jordanhill in the Women’s Premiership, and that pair will now play Corstorphine and Stirling County, respectively, in January’s play-off semi-finals. 

Further down the leagues, the situation looks precarious with clubs appearing to struggle to re-attract players after the long lay-off, and a full analysis of fixtures fulfilled is likely to make for interesting – and harrowing – reading when it becomes available. It is likely that Hawick Harlequins will not be the only club to wave the white flag in the weeks and months ahead.