A TORRENTIAL downpour delayed Dunfermline Rugby Club’s return to competitive action as their match against Glenrothes was rained off.

The McKane Park men were set to make the short journey to Carleton Park last Saturday but the ground failed a pitch inspection.

The postponement allowed Ellon to move ahead of Dunfermline in the Tennent’s Caledonia Division One table.

Ellon overcame Garioch’s challenge with a 24-12 victory as they leapfrogged into second place.

Grangemouth Stags and Aberdeen Wanderers also applied the pressure as both sides closed the gap on Dunfermline to a point.

Club captain Clarke Smith told Press Sport that closing down table-toppers Orkney was his side’s priority and were looking up rather than behind.

He said: “The break over Christmas and New Year came at a good time for us after a run of really tough games.

“We played Orkney twice and we went to Grangemouth as well so those games took a lot out of us mentally and physically.

“Now that we’re out of the cups, it’s up to us to put pressure on Orkney in the league.

“They may have their eyes elsewhere and we want to take advantage of that.

“We still have to play them up there again, and we’ll put the past two games against them behind us and go there with a belief that we can win.”

Dunfermline were able to brush off the cobwebs during the break with a friendly against Haddington after the New Year.

They made the trip across the Forth to the capital for the fixture at the Oriam, Scotland’s national performance centre for sport.

Two extended squads played three 40-minute periods against Haddington on January 4, with the Tennent’s East Region League Division One side winning 64-31.

On the match, Clarke said: “It was a great chance to test out some different combinations and players.

“We came through it with no injuries – there was no point overdoing it – and it was important for us to get back to basics and go through the motions again.

“It was a great test against a good outfit.”

Dunfermline will now travel to Rubislaw this weekend in the league as they face Aberdeen Wanderers (2pm) on Saturday.

The club have also announced that they have formed a partnership with the School of Hard Knocks initiative.

The rugby charity works with unemployed adults to find sustained employment as well as working with children who have barriers to education to help them reach their potential and re-engage with school.

Proceeds from the rugby club's annual Burns Night Supper will be shared between the club and the School of Hard Knocks.

The night will consist of a piper, addressing of the haggis with a lassies reply, a two-course meal and then live music from a ceilidh band.

Tickets for the event at Cairneyhill’s Forrester Park on February 7 are now available online via Eventbrite.