Melrose glamour game thrills Highland's Fraser
SCOTT Fraser can recall bleak afternoons spent grappling in mud, sleet and battering gales in far-flung corners such as Lerwick and Stornoway.
Tomorrow’s trip to one of rugby’s most iconic grounds will be a far cry from the rickety changing rooms and lukewarm showers of early first-team forays with Highland.
This eagerly-awaited National One tie at Melrose casts into sharp relief just how far the Canal Park outfit has come since Fraser cut his teeth in the seniors six years ago.
The Scaniport farmer, now 24, joined Highland in primary one, making his big team debut in Caledonia Two in 2013. Highland’s excitement at stepping out at The Greenyards is natural.
But fly half Fraser insists the occasion cannot be allowed to serve as distraction for the team.
Second-place Highland, five points behind leaders Biggar, can strengthen their tilt for a third successive promotion if they become the first to beat Melrose in their own backyard this year.
“Playing at Greenyards is one we’ve looked forward to from the off,” Fraser admitted.
“It is in stark contrast to places we were visiting five or six years ago.
“We’ll savour it, but once the warm-up starts it must be just another game.”
Head coach Dave Carson and colleagues created a conveyor belt of young talent, with Fraser rising through the ranks with the likes of Callum and Rory Carson. He carries a big burden of responsibility as main kicker, but feels he is still improving, with a 70 per cent success rate this term.
Having studied agriculture in Edinburgh, he is enjoying his first season living locally and giving Highland full focus and commitment.
Fraser said: “There’s still a lot of room for improvement for me, but I’m reasonably happy. This is my first season in senior rugby where I’m home and able to train twice a week. We’re happy with progress and the club is in a fantastic place.”