Border League Final
26 Apr 2017
The final of the 2016/17 Booker Border League took place at a chilly but clear Poynder Park, with Gala looking to retain the title and Melrose seeking the trophy for the first time in six years. Immediately prior to kick off, a minutes silence was held in memory of Gala stalwart Ian Crooks who passed away earlier in the week.
Still on a high from winning the BT Scottish Cup four days earlier, Melrose came racing out the traps, scoring the first try of the evening after four minutes. The pack took control from a lineout on the right at the Gala 10m line, and rumbled towards the changing room end of the Kelso ground. The move stopped short of the try line, but the ball was recycled and fed out to Jason Baggott who burst through the defensive line to touch down to the left of the post. He converted his own try, Melrose 7, Gala 0.
Five minutes later, the move was repeated on the opposite side of the pitch, the forwards relying on their own power to cross the line this time, Cameron McKay claiming the score, Craig Jackson converting. The subsequent ten minutes were spent with Gala camped in the Melrose half seeking a way back into the match, but their probing came to nought when Baggott anticipated Gregor Hunter’s lofted pass, intercepted it off his bootlaces and scampered half the pitch to touch down for his second self-converted try.
On 35 minutes the lineout paid dividends for the third time after Gala were penalised for not releasing, Grant Runciman powering over from short range, Baggott again converting, Melrose 28, Gala 0.
As the clock ticked past the 40 minutes mark, Melrose cut loose a little with a mazy run by Gavin Wood. As the ball found its way to the right touchline, some basketball passes saw Fraser Thomson feed Iain Moody on the line for the fifth try of the evening, Baggott bringing the half to a close with the tricky touchline conversion.
Half time: Melrose 35-Gala 0
The second half lacked the intensity of the first, as both sides introduced a raft of substitutes throughout the 40 minutes, and despite being a low scoring affair, was no less entertaining for it. Gala had Craig Robertson yellow carded early on, although ‘rose failed to capitalise on the man advantage. Twice Gala thwarted Melrose attacks by holding the ball up over the line. Pride in a Borders derby dictates that our teams never give up, and with five minutes left, prop Terry Skeet ran a Gala penalty from his own 10 metre line, which led to Richie Tod releasing winger Paul Hendry down the left wing and crossing the line to break Gala’s duck for the evening. Gregor Hunter converted to bring the scoring to a close on this year’s 15 a side season.
Full time: Melrose 35-Gala 7
Melrose: Fraser Thomson, Nyle Godsmark, George Taylor, Craig Jackson, Gavin Wood, Jason Baggott, Bruce Colvine; Dan Elkington, Cameron McKay, Ruari McLeod, Aaron Welsh, Ally Grieve, Ruaridh Knott, Grant Runciman, Iain Moody. Subs: Russell Anderson, Callum Cruickshanks, Ruaridh Campbell, Neil Irvine-Hess, Murdo McAndrew, Thomas Klein, David Colvine.
Gala: Graham Spiers, Paul Hendry, Dwayne Burrows, Gregor Mein, Craig Robertson, Gregor Hunter, Simon Fairburn; Chris Keen, Dean Brooker, Terry Skeet, Sean Johnstone, Chris Weir, Gary Adams, Scott Wilkinson, Stevie Cairns. Subs: Gary Robertson, Curtis Reynolds, Richie Tod, Rob Louw, Lachlan Johnstone, Alan Emond, Aidan Turner.
Referee; Cammy Rudkin, Assistants; Ross Mabon, Bob Nevins
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