Union Cup, to be held in unphotogenic Basingstoke (see Amateur Photographer) on Saturday. December 2. However. in the league. their fortunes differ markedly. with the Racers starting their account particularly badly. While losing four games in a whole season generally brings out the scribes and pharisees in a welterof self-criticism. the loss of as many games in the side‘s first six fixtures of this season is beginning to open up frighteningly new territory in self-analysis.

Saturday 18

I Ayr Raiders v Sollhul Barons The Summit Centre. Minerva Way. Finnieston Cross. Glasgow. 5pm.

I File Flyers v Whitley Bay Warriors Kirkcaldy Ice Rink, 7. 15pm. Fife‘s current good form should be enhanced by the likely return of Les Millie. a 16-yearold star-in-thc-making. from an injury which was at one stage potentially life-threatening. Prior to the start ofthe season. he developed a blood clot on the shoulder which at one stage was diagnosed as being very serious indeed. In addition. it denied him an opportunity to train in Canada. so to recover so quickly will help overcome what has been a bit of a personal nightmare.


I Murraytield Racers v Solihul Barons Murrayfield Ice Rink. Riversdale Crescent. Edinburgh. 6.30pm.


I Scottish Senior Championships Meadowbank Sports Centre. London Road. Edinburgh. 10am. £1 .50. Withthe Commonwealth Games squad ofeleven participants (six men and five women) already selected. none will actually be competing in this Championship. Instead. they will be taking part in an international tournament in Norway.

KARATE Sunday19

I Scotland v Norway Coatbridgc Leisure Centre. Bank Street. Coatbridge. 7pm. Norway are a force to be reckoned with in Karate (perhaps this accounts for their consistently poor showings in the Eurovision Song contest). having won the European Championship in 1988. Although Scotland won the championship the year before. they are going through a process of transition at the moment and they could well struggle. despite home advantage. To give the evening extra spice. there will be an East v Westof Scotland competition.

MOTOR SPORT Wednesday 22

I Lombard RAC Rally Lockerbie to Eskdalemuir (13723) at 8am: Craik Forest. near llawick (B71 1 ). 9am; Cardrona

Forest. near I’ecbles. 10am: Elibank

i Forest. near lnnerleithen. 10.30am.

RUGBY Saturday 11

MCEWAN'S NATIONAL LEAGUE, DIVISION 1 I Glasgow High/Kelvinside v Stewart’s-Melville Old Anniesland. Crow Road. Glasgow. 2pm.

I West of Scotland v Gala Burnbrae. Milngavie. 2pm. Not only are West of Scotland languishing at the bottom of Division I . they have conceded more points than almost any other team in the seven Divisions.

I Edinburgh Acads v Selkirk Raeburn Place. Stockbridge. Edinburgh. 2pm.

I Heriot's v Melrose Goldenacre. Bangholm Terrace. Edinburgh. 2pm.

I Boroughmuir v Hawick Meggetland. (‘olinton Road. 2pm.

For at least 90 minut s, on Wednesday 15, the Scottish footballing public will have the chance to divert its attentions away from the collective navel and locus them on the actual source of many worries, the World Cup qualifying match between Scotland and Norway.

While pundits, experts and even card-carrying members of the country's media ready their pens and vitriol for the nightmarish possibility that Scotland might not win the single point that will send them to the finals in Italy next year, most of the rest of the general public will entertain nothing but the most optimistic oi predictions, for tearthat the full barrage of analysis currently afflicting the game gathers even more urgency and self-importance.

Norway will travel to Hampden Park seeking nothing butthe restoration of some pride, having lost to Yugoslavia a few weeks ago in very dubious circumstances. In addition, they may be denied the services of some continental-based players whose commitments to their clubs might be considered to be more worthy than a kick-about in the cold, no doubt wet, environs of Mount Florida, Glasgow. However, Scotland’s fabled capacity to struggle against scratch sides consisting of lawyers, publicans and candlestick-makers means that any side the Norwegians put out will deserve the same, often-quoted,

‘respect’ which would be applied to the



likes of Brazil or Holland.

Should the Scots tail to achieve the desired objective, the head of coach Andy Roxburgh might be the price demanded by a nation starved of significant success in recent years. Having been in the post since Alex Ferguson departed iorthe quiet backwaters of Manchester United in 1986, some people might argue that the ex-headmaster has had a lair crack of the whip, and should be sacrificed in the event of World Cup failure.

Not that crisis management of that sort would serve to sort out the problems which run fairly deep in the modern game. That renewable energy source variously known as hot air, short-sighted speculation, and tedious self-criticism would do well to recognise that Roxburgh is one of the few tar-sighted administrators that the game has to its name. What he might lack in charisma, he makes up for in an indissoluble love for the game, which extends from a careful approach to the way in which children are taught football skills to a considered understanding of what other nations are doing outside our sometimes narrow perspective.

Looking across to American Football as a source of inspiration for many things, such as stadium construction, television coverage and commercial packaging, it is revealing to note the slow turnover oi head coaches in both the NFL and AFC. Many of them have held their posts lor well over live years, and ii team managers over here were to be given tenures of a similar duration perhaps the adverse pressures within the Scottish game would be partly alleviated by more constructive developments.

Of course, a win or a draw on Wednesday 15 would, at a stroke, inject confidence into Scottish football and ensure the continued services of Roxburgh. Most of the game's problems would continue to simmer nicely away, but at least a sheen ol sell-delusion would be there to protect us from many of the harsh realities, as well as encourage us to enrol in the local foreign language class. (Mike Wilson)

Scotland v Norway, Hampden Park, Glasgow, Wednesday 15, 8pm.

MCEWAN’S NATIONAL LEAGUE. DIVISION 2 I Currie v Watsonians Malleny Park, Balerno. Edinburgh. 2pm.

I Edinburgh Wanderers v Hillhead/Jordanhill Murrayfield. Corstorphine Road. Edinburgh. 2pm. The Wanderers’ determined attempt to return to the First Division since 1977 (as illustrated by the team beginning its pre-season training well ahead ofthe competition) seems to be paying dividends. They have strung together an impressive series of victories. not least the 16-7 win over Glasgow Academicals. The first XV is brimming with young. keen players such as Dan Tulfrey (Scottish Schools‘ Full-Back a couple of years ago). Murray and Bryan Craig. and the tall. Second-Row forward. Eric Challon. (from St Claude. of the French First Division) whose ability in the line-out is provingto be a valuable asset. On the fringes ofthe first team are many other talented players. including a substantial number from one

of Edinburgh‘s pre-eminent rugby schools. Merchiston Castle. who push the regulars to work that bit harder to retain their places.

Wednesday 15


I Glasgow District Union v Midlands District Union Hughenden. Hughenden Road. Glasgow. 2pm.

Saturday 18

McEWAN'S NATIONAL LEAGUE. DIVISION 1 I Stewart's-Melville v West of Scotland lnverleith. Ferry Road, Edinburgh. 2pm. MCEWAN’S NATIONAL LEAGUE, DIVISION 2 I Watsonians v Kirkcaldy Myreside. Myreside Road. Edinburgh. 2pm.

I Corstorphine V Currie Union Park. Carricknowe Parkway. Edinburgh. 2pm. I Glasgow Acads v Preston Lodge New Anniesland, Helensburgh Drive. Glasgow, 2pm.

TENNIS Saturday 11

I Vauxhall National Tennis League. Final Whitecraigs Lawn Tennis Club. 11am. Based on the West German League system (which of course produced Becker and Graf). the Vauxhall NationalTennis League (Men) ends its first year with a final between Cults (from Aberdeen) and Bridge of Allan. The new League structure is seen as a serious attempt to create the conditions which might produce players who are able to compete on the international circuit. Although participating teams consist of six players. in being able to register twelve for the league programme. there has been no restriction on inviting players from other clubs. both within and outside Scotland. to compete for them; nor are clubs denied the chance to win sponsorship for themselves. despite the involvement of Vauxhall. These initiatives are expected to inject not only finance into the sport. but added quality to the games -



I Adscreen Kyle v Holte IF (Denmark) Kelvin Hall Sports Centre. Argyll Street. Glasgow. 7pm (between 6pm and 7pm. there will be an exhibition match off ‘Sitting Volleyball‘ between a Scottish Disabled Selectand Bellshill Ca rdinalsof the Men‘s First Division). Like Adscreen. Holte IF have dominated their domestic woman‘s volleyball scene for the last two seasons. though their European experience is almost as limited as the Ayr side. having lost in the first round ofthe European Cup to Post Vienna last year. Adscreen lost to the Luxembourg side. Bonne Voie. at the same stage of the Cup last season. but coach. Vince Krawczyk. feels that the current side are better placed to make progress this time around given that they have established themselves as a more cohesive unit in the last twelve months. and they have a more successful 2nd team who will be able to provide greater depth to the squad.


I Kinleilh Plant v Airdrie Tynecastle Iligh School. McLeod Street. Edinburgh. 12.30pm.


I Provincial Insurance v Glasgow Bannerman Tynecastle High School. McLeod Street. Edinburgh. 2.50pm.



I Elliott Sports Jets v Krystal Klear 2 Moray House College. Cramond. near Edinburgh. 3pm.


I Provincial Insurance v Caimcross Tay Pearls Tynecastle HS. McLeod Street. Edinburgh. Noon.

I Glasgow Bannerman v lnverclyde Eastbank Academy. Academy Street. Shettleston. Glasgow. 12.30pm.

Saturday 18


I Kinlelth Plant v Falklrk Tynecastle School. McLeod Street. Edinburgh.

1(). 10am.

I Bellshill Cardinals v Su Ragazzi Cardinal Newman High School. Bellshill. Glasgow. Noon.


I Provincial Insurance v Hydrasunlullos Tynecastle School. McLeod Street. Edinburgh. 12.30pm.

“The List l()- 23 November 1989