Bonus-point win for Gala but Melrose title tilt falters
Those results leave Melrose in fifth place, down from second ahead of kick-off and now nine points shy of Ayr, and Gala sixth, their points difference being almost 100 worse than their Borders rivals’.
The two teams play their first derby of this season this coming Saturday, with kick-off at the Greenyards at 3pm, and there’ll be more than just National 1 points and bragging rights at stake as it’s a Border League double-header, with the reverse fixture in Galashiels to follow on Saturday, December 2..
Honours ended up even between the two sides last time out in National 1, Gala winning 43-35 at home in March after losing 63-15 away at the end of November, but they also won last Boxing Day’s Waverley Cup fixture at Netherdale, making a comeback after two years off, by 43-15.
Melrose ended the season one league place and 14 points better off than their Borders rivals, however, in third place with 86 points, Gala being fourth with 72.
Touching down for head coach Iain Chisholm’s Melrose side versus Ayr at the weekend were Will Owen and Hamish Weir, with Scott Clark adding a penalty.
Ayr’s try-scorers were Adam McGowan, Angus North at the double and Peter McCallum, with Jamie Bova converting three and kicking three penalties.
North and team-mate Caleb Rae were both sin-binned for high tackles, as was the hosts’ Will Ferrie for an off-the-ball incident.
On the scoresheet for Gala – coached by Craig Dods, Ewen Robbie and Dean Keddie – were captain Angus Dun with a hat-trick, Daniel Nicholson and Liam Scott, with Scott Peffers converting all five.
Biggar’s tries were scored by Ewan Stewart at the double and Gareth Jones, with Finlay Crozier converting all three.
Melrose try-scorer Owen was disappointed to see his team’s title challenge falter at the weekend, telling Borders Rugby TV: “They came out of the blocks awfully fast and it was a bit of a shock to the system.
“At half-time, we should have been up on the scoreboard. I think we had more possession than them. I just don’t think we capitalised on our opportunities really in that first half.
“Everybody will be down and we’ve got to reflect on Saturday’s game and have a deep look at ourselves and what we can do, but we’ll be absolutely firing next Saturday come Gala.”
Gala’s Dun was happier with how Saturday went, saying: “It feels brilliant, to be fair.
“Full credit to the full team for their performance there. There are still work-ons but absolute credit to ourselves.
“Biggar did put up a fight and we knew it was going to be a sticky game.
“We’ve been struggling points-wise, so to get that full five does mean a lot, especially at home. I couldn’t have asked for more.
“It’s the best game we could have asked for to push on to playing Melrose, so I can’t complain.”