Marathon Borders derby finishes level

High-energy Boxing Day action between Gala (maroon) and Melrose in the Waverley Cup. The game ended 5-5.
High-energy Boxing Day action between Gala (maroon) and Melrose in the Waverley Cup. The game ended 5-5.
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Gala 5, Melrose 5

Yesterday’s traditional Boxing Day clash for the Waverley Cup proved to be a low-scoring game by these two teams’ standards – but not short of tension, as the result was in doubt until the (eventual) final whistle.

The game lasted a seemingly interminable 93 minutes – with a full nine minutes being added for stoppages, which most attending (from both camps) considered to be a trifle excessive.

On a bitterly cold day, and with the remnants of Storm Conor blowing out its last, the pitch at Netherdale was nevertheless judged to be in perfect condition for the game.

The respective coaches chose to field a number of youngsters mixed with a few older, more experienced heads in the customary December 26 clash.

All aquitted themselves well and possibly gave a glimpse of things to come. Had the conditions been better, the scoreboard attendant might have been busier. However, chances on both sides were missed and honours were even at the end of the day.

As holders, Gala retained the trophy, which will revert to The Greenyards next year.

Playing with the wind assistance in the first half, Melrose went ahead in 18 minutes through a try by winger Sam Pecquer. Gala’s Gary Adams levelled with a try for the home side in 52 minutes. Adams and Melrose prop Callum Crookshank were both shown a yellow card for separate second-half infringements.

Afterwards, Melrose head coach Rob Chrystie tweeted congratulations to the Maroons on retaining the cup and highlighted “loads of effort and commitment by all involved”.

Another match scheduled for yesterday, the Skelly Cup contest between Jed-Forest and Hawick, was called off because of a saturated pitch at Riverside.