Gala 27, Melrose 43
Melrose collected their fourth successive bonus point to continue leading the Premiership – but it took until the second half for them to douse a fighting Gala side.
Melrose scored six tries, with Jason Baggot converting five and kicking a penalty, but coach Robert Chrystie admitted they had been tested at Netherdale.
“We had to work hard and we took our chances when they came,” he said. “I am pleased. The whole squad is working really hard and putting in a lot of effort, and we will try to get even better. Both teams had opportunities, but we were just a bit sharper.”
Two of the Gala tries were scored when prop James Bhatti was sent to the sin-bin and their third deep into injury time.
Coach Chris Dalgleish, who felt Melrose should have been shown a card before half-time, was disappointed.
“Just after half-time, we conceded a couple of soft tries. We finished well but we need to do better than that as we didn’t get out of the blocks.
“Melrose are very clinical and we were chasing the game after that.”
The warm, sunny afternoon was ideal for open, running rugby, and with nine tries scored, both clubs kept the game moving.
Gala fell behind to an early Russell Anderson try, and a score by Neil Irvine-Hess gave the visitors a 17-6 interval lead, Gregor Hunter responding with two penalties.
The two tries early in the second half from Iain Moody, the first of his two, and Jason Baggott saw Melrose lead 36-6 before Ross Combe and Chris Weir touched down twice in three minutes, Hunter converting twice.
In the final minutes, Ross McCann and Rory Scholes exchanged tries. Baggott converted five for Melrose while Hunter added one and Graham Speirs drop-kicked Gala’s last points.