26-5 derby victory over Melrose takes Gala to top of Tennent's National League Division 1 table

Gala are now in pole position in Tennent’s National League Division 1 after their 26-5 derby-day demolition of Melrose at the weekend.

Euan Dods on the ball for Gala against Melrose (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Euan Dods on the ball for Gala against Melrose (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Melrose took the lead against their visitors from Galashiels at their Greenyards home ground on Saturday with an unconverted Aidan Cross try just after the quarter-hour mark, but that was their first and last score of the afternoon.

After that, it was Gala all the way, with a 25th-minute Craig Dods penalty at 25 minutes opening their account, followed, five minutes later, by a Jack Easson try converted by Dods and then another Dods penalty just ahead of the interval to make the half-time scoreline 13-5 to the visitors.

A no-arms tackle attempt by John Cox 17 minutes into the second half gifted Dods another penalty to make it 16-5.

Melrose No 8 Ben McLean taking on Gala scrum-half Lachlan Johnston (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Five minutes after that, Tim McKavanagh scored Gala’s second try, again converted by Dods, and Dods kicked a fourth and final penalty right at the death to give his side a 21-point winning margin.

Gala are now a point clear of Biggar at the top of the 12-team table, on 28 from seven games, with Melrose dropping to third place on 26 points from eight games.

Dods told Borders Rugby TV afterwards: “We focused on ourselves this week and we came out with a really good performance, particularly in defence.

“We managed that game really well.”

Doug Crawford on the ball for Melrose against Gala (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Melrose assistant forwards coach Bert Grigg added: “Gala were just better than us on the day, maybe a couple of things didn’t click and it was disappointing in the end.”

Kelso, the region’s other side in the division, won 31-5 at second-bottom Boroughmuir on Saturday and are now in seventh place with 20 points from eight games.

The Borderers’ tries were scored by Keith Melbourne at the double, Dwain Patterson, Robbie Tweedie and Gareth Walker.

Kelso player-coach Bruce McNeil wasn’t happy with that bonus-point win, though, saying: “We were in second gear the whole game. We talked about being ruthless and disciplined, and we weren’t.

“Five tries was fine but we weren’t at our best and we need to have a hard look at ourselves, to be fair.

“We’ve come away and we’ve got five points away from home but I’m certainly not happy about the performance.”