Silverbacks and Eagles go head-to-head for Scottish glory

Edinburgh Eagles take on Strathmore Silverbacks in the 2019 Scottish Cup Final tomorrow (Saturday 20 July), at Scottish Police’s Lochinch ground in Pollok Park in Glasgow writes Phil Caplan.
The game culminates an encouraging season for open age Rugby League in Scotland, with Glasgow playing their first competitive games and Fife Lions returning to the fold after a numbers of years, meaning that the highest number of competitive 13-a-side club matches have been played in the country since 2013.
Edinburgh are also competing in the North East League and, having finished second, they now play Cramlington Rockets in the Qualifying Play off on Saturday 27 July.
The Cup Final will be preceded by an U16s match between the Eagles and Silverbacks, the second of a series of three matches between teams that are newly formed at this age group.
With very encouraging numbers also taking part in the Scotland U16s and U19s programmes, 2019 has seen a significant increase in levels of participation in Scotland.
Barry McGuffog, chairman of Edinburgh Eagles, said: “This year has seen the club continue to grow on and off the pitch. We now have over 50 open age players registered and seen a very encouraging response to our youth programme. We are really looking forward to a very competitive cup decider.”
Dave Vernon, head coach of the Silverbacks added: “Our guys have really enjoyed their Rugby League this season. It is great to see more games being played and new clubs joining the league. We always have highly competitive matches with the Eagles and I’m sure that this weekend will be no different with so much at stake.”
The match comes on the back of Scotland U19s going down 24-19 to Ireland last weekend in Livingstone. A late revival from the young Bravehearts, with tries from Jack Grahamslaw and Lyle Wilson, were not enough to prevent the junior Wolfhounds from gaining revenge for a home defeat in April, and for whom hooker Patrick Angling scored a fine hat trick.
Fullback Lucas Reed was selected as the home man of the match and Scotland U19s head coach Mark Brennan commented: “This game was an important step in our preparation for next year’s U19s European Championships in Italy, we’ve put out a young team today and the experience they will gain from facing a good Ireland team will be invaluable.”
Ollie Cruickshank, director of operations for Scotland Rugby League, said: “We’ve had a very encouraging season in Scotland. We still have a long way to go but the base is in a better place than it has been for some time. We are looking forward to a highly competitive Cup Final to top it off.”