NORTH Berwick RFC have been challenged to wrap up the league title after securing promotion – while Musselburgh RFC have announced a new head coach.

A commanding 68-5 victory over Penicuik at the weekend ensured that East League Division One rugby will be played at North Berwick’s Recreation Park next season.

The club are in the driving seat to be crowned champions and know victory over Corstorphine this Saturday (kick-off 2pm) will seal first spot.

Mark Coull, head coach, felt their work was not yet done.

He said: “The players have got their wish where they can go out and play at home in front of a crowd and hopefully win the league, which would be great.”

A try in the opening three minutes in Midlothian set North Berwick on their way to gaining promotion from East League Division Two. In the end, North Berwick ran in a total of 10 tries, Andy Fraser grabbing a hat-trick.

East Lothian Courier: Mark Coull and North Berwick RFC are celebrating after securing promotion to East League Division OneMark Coull and North Berwick RFC are celebrating after securing promotion to East League Division One

On final opponents Corstorphine, Coull said: “They have shown consistency all year and are going to be a really tough team.

“We will want to get out of the blocks quickly.”

Promotion caps an eventful couple of years for North Berwick.

The Covid-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020-21 season across the country and also halted the previous campaign.

Prior to the season being stopped, North Berwick had thumped Penicuik 82-7 and Livingston 84-0 at the beginning of March 2020.

The county club sat third in the standings but, with three games in hand, could have gone on to wrap up the title.

Coull felt promotion this year was a “reward” for the players and told Courier Sport: “Coronavirus happened to everybody but it did sting.

“I don’t mind saying it did sting a little bit for me personally.

“We were flying high that March.”

There could be further cause for celebration at the club this weekend as well.

The East Youth U16 Shield final is played at 10.30am at Recreation Park, with the home side taking on North Edinburgh Vikings.

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Meanwhile, new Musselburgh head coach Derek O’Riordan is looking to write the next chapter in the club’s “rich history”.

The Murrayfield Wanderers supremo will move to Burgh next week following the last of the fixtures in National League Division Three.

The new head coach is following in the footsteps of Graeme Paterson, who steered the club into the top flight of Scottish rugby.

O’Riordan will be joined by current 2nd XV coach and former club captain Andrew Clark at the helm of the club, with hopes to “deepen the connection” between the club and the town.

The former Edinburgh Academical head coach told the club website he was “excited” to take the reins and said: “I’m looking forward to working with and learning from Andrew Clark too as we plan to build toward what we hope will be a successful future with and for the club.

“I was attracted to the ambitious nature of the club and its desire to stay true to its amateur ethos.

READ MORE: Musselburgh boss calls on team not to let rivals off the hook

“The club has a rich history, knows who they are, and is well connected to its people and its community.

“We hope to deepen this connection so on and off the field we embody what it means to represent the Honest Toun.”

Musselburgh finished seventh in the 10-team Tennent’s Premiership, ahead of Jed-Forest, Selkirk and Aberdeen Grammar.

O’Riordan said: “There is no hiding the club’s ambitions in terms of wanting to feature regularly in the play-offs but the pragmatist in me recognises to do this sustainably takes time.

“Therefore, my overarching and long-term aspiration is to support the greatest period of success in Musselburgh’s history.

“In the short-term, that will require Andrew and I to understand what it takes to win and keep winning in the Premiership, and incrementally moving our senior programme toward that over time.”