Melrose progress to Scottish Cup final

Gala 29 Melrose 34

RBS NATIONAL CUP

Following an action packed 80 minutes at Netherdale Melrose booked their place in this years RBS Scottish Cup final against Ayr.

Hardly had the huge crowd at Netherdale time to catch their breath and the scoring had started.

A badly fielded ball from the Melrose kick-off allowed the quick thinking Joe Helps time to gather and nip in at the corner, converting himself from the touch line, taking first blood for Melrose.

Visibly stung Gala launched an all out attack and by the quarter hour mark had closed the gap to a single point following two Lee Millar penalties.

Had Helps been on target with two similar efforts however it would have been a whole different story.

Although Melrose enjoyed several surges into the Gala half of the pitch they failed to convert their chances whereas their hosts had no such problem. A searing break by Grant Somerville, taken on by Craig Borthwick saw back row man Craig Keddie, with a not to shabby sprint himself, in near the posts. Millar converted and Gala were on the front foot for the first time in the game.

Helps closed the gap shortly afterwards with his first successful penalty kick and two minutes later Millar missed one at the opposite end of the pitch.

With play now raging from end to end Melrose hit back again with Bruce Colvine toppling over the line amid a pile of bodies. Helps converted to edge the visitors back into the lead but there was no relief as Millar promptly notched his third penalty.

Just before the break Melrose were reduced to 14 men when Andrew Nagle was sent to the sin bin for obstruction. Millar slotted the resulting penalty to make it 19-17 in Gala’s favour at half time.

The non stop action continued after the restart. Helps missed another penalty but made amends a minute later when he converted a close range Bruce Dick try.

Supporters had to wait a full 14 minutes for the next score and when it came the noise could be heard in the Salmon. For it was the hosts who touched down this time, George Graham, skipping up the sidelines to score out wide, Millar’s conversion put Gala two points in front.

Melrose were not to be put down however, a penalty from Helps was cancelled out by a similar effort from Millar but, with two minutes remaining, sub Richard Ferguson dotted down the decisive try. Helps added the conversion and despite a spirited attempt by Gala to reverse their fortunes time ran out with Melrose bagging themselves the prized Cup Final place.

Gala: A. McLean; G. Somerville, C. Auld, C. Borthwick, C. Robertson; L. Millar, George Graham; L. Pettie, C. Mackintosh, C. Hogg, Gary Graham, O. Palepoi, C. Keddie, B. Murray, E. Dods. Subs: E. McQuillin, R. Anderson, T. Weir, B. Turner, Gavin Young, A. Emond, C. Weir.

Melrose: F. Thomson; C. Anderson, B. Dick, J. Helps, A. Dodds; R. Mill, B. Colvine; N. Little, W. Mitchell, G. Holborn, G. Dodds, R. Miller, J. Dalziel, G. Runciman, A. Nagle.