The fearsome shadow of relegation is hanging over Stornoway Rugby Club

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STORNOWAY Rugby Club are facing a hat-trick of relegation Grand Final’s, starting in their next fixture against Banff, according to team coach Angus ‘Bubble’ Mackay - but he concedes it may be Mission Impossible for the Stornoway stars, writes Eric Mackinnon.

The club are currently propping up the rest at the foot of the Caledonia Division Two North League and they have just three matches left, all at home in Stornoway, to dodge the drop.

But with a massive 10-point gap between Stornoway and Aberdeen Uni Medics – their closest rivals – Mackay concedes they have it all to do.

“We were due to play Banff this Saturday but it looks as if that game has now been called off and we’re now without a competitive match since early December,” said Mackay.

“We have three matches and we need to win them all but even then we need favours so unfortunately there is effectively little chance of us staying up. As well as winning all of our games we need Lochaber to also lose all of their remaining fixtures – so it’s not looking great for us.”

Stornoway have struggled for points in their league campaign, but Mackay says the players are ready to scratch and claw for their lives to finish out of the bottom two and retain their place in the league.

He explained: “We won’t be giving anything up though and the challenge for us is to do our own bit and try and win our remaining games and hopefully some bonus points and finish the season on a high.

“Even doing that would be terrific and would help us prepare for the summer on a good run. It has been a hard season and we have been playing against really good teams.

“Last season, in Division 3, there were only a handful of good teams so we were winning the majority of games but promotion has been a real step up.

“I have to say the players’ commitments have been tremendous and we haven’t shirked anything.

“We have definitely learned a lot this season, especially over the past five or six months and that can only help us in the future.”

The squad are itching for a competitive return across the white paint after several months in cold storage due to the winter weather on the mainland but in training Mackay hopes to have mapped out a survival plan for the side.

“Amazingly we have been way ahead of the mainland clubs in regards to playing fixtures,” he explained.

“When all the snow wiped out the mainland fixtures a months ago we weren’t affected and fulfilled all our fixtures. Then the past two months has seen all those postponed games played but as we were up to date we haven’t played a game since early December.

“It’s not ideal as there is only so much you can do on the training ground.”

But their cause wasn’t help after a series of injuries to a key position.

Mackay added: “We are struggling for a scrum-half with both Angus Williams and David Mackay both injured. That isn’t helping but on the Brightside we do hope to introduce one or two junior players into the senior set-up over the final three games if possible as a few of the boys are turning 18 so that’d be a highlight.”