Garioch RFC may not have been in action since last month but recent results in BT Caledonia League Division 2 North have blown the title race wide open.
A 34-21 win for Highland 2nd XV over Ellon at The Meadows has moved the Inverness side into second and prevented the leaders from opening a gap at the top of the table.
They remain just two points ahead of Garioch in third having played the same number of matches.
Not only that, but Moray in fourth and Mackie Academy FPs in fifth remain in contention as the league reaches the ‘business end’ of the season.
Normally, by this point in a season, it would be a clear battle between two or three clubs for top spot, and Garioch head coach David Duguid says he can’t recall the league ever being so tight so late on.
He said: “Last season ourselves and Banff stretched away from the rest of the league but this year it is very tight and still a lot of rugby to play.
“The league has been very competitive and on their day anyone can beat anyone.
“We are absolutely thrilled with where we are in the table – considering we had to cancel our first game of the season because we could not get a team together we have come a long way.
“At the start of the season we would have probably been happy with a top half finish.
“We lost six or seven first team players last year and this year have given debuts to 12 players so it’s been a very positive season so far.”
For a time it looked as if Ellon might run away with the league, remaining unbeaten up to December, but losses to Moray, Highland and Garioch have prevented them from opening up a gap at the top.
“The Ellon win was massive for us,” said Duguid.
“We always believed we could win that game especially being at Kellands Park; to put in a full 80-minute performance, get the try bonus point and keep Ellon out in the dying minutes was great for us.
“Our home wins against Moray and Aberdeen Grammar 2s have also been huge for us as these games could have gone either way.
“Our two losses to Highland and Moray were gutting to lose but valuably we took two bonus points from each game which has kept us ahead in second place.
“It’s the old cliché but we are definitely just taking it one game at time.
“We must improve our away form if we are to challenge for the league at the end of the season.”
Duguid was also keen to praise the performance and attitude of club captain Sean Low as well as president Rob Bly.
“Rob has an enormous amount of work to get through and is still learning as president but he is still pulling the shirt on, playing prop for us most weekends.
“Sean is doing great work both on the pitch and off.
“He organises the players, food, stocks the bar and also gets involved with Caley Clan rugby.”