Borders rugby’s Waverley Cup called off again due to Covid-19 outbreak

This coming Sunday’s planned Waverley Cup rugby match between Gala and Melrose has been called off for the second year running.

By Darin Hutson
Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 8:27 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 8:53 am
Gala's Daniel Nicholson on the charge against Melrose during 2019's Waverley Cup game (Photo: Alwyn Johnston)
Gala's Daniel Nicholson on the charge against Melrose during 2019's Waverley Cup game (Photo: Alwyn Johnston)

The 3pm Boxing Day game, contested annually since 2006 except in 2020 due to the coronavirus lockdown in force at the time, has been cancelled due to an outbreak of the disease among Melrose’s squad.

Their Galashiels hosts announced that decision last night, issuing a message to supporters saying: “Regrettably, we have been left with no option but to cancel the 2021 Waverley Cup game against Melrose this coming Boxing Day.

“We committed heavily to organising a great day out at Netherdale and we know that this decision will disappoint many of you, as much as it does us.

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“Melrose have informed us that they have had a number of Covid infections among both their playing squad and staff and, given the current increasing spread of the new Covid variant, have decided that they will not be able to participate in the Waverley Cup this year.

“We take this opportunity to apologise to all of our supporters, sponsors, players and stakeholders for the cancellation of the match.

“We know how keenly anticipated this match and post-Christmas day out are and confirm that it will be replayed at Netherdale next year.”

The cup was last contested in 2019, with then head coach Opeta Palepoi’s Gala side winning 26-14 at Melrose, coached at the time by Stuart Johnson.

The Netherdale side’s try-scorers were Ruairi Howarth twice, Euan Dods and Ben Gill, with Dean Keddie adding two conversions and Simon Fairbairn another.

Their Greenyards hosts’ tries were scored by Will Owen and Aidan Cross, with Kieran Clark converting both.

This year’s Waverley Cup cancellation follows the postponement of Border League games at Jedburgh last Thursday and Selkirk on Saturday as part of efforts to curb the spread of Covid’s new Omicron variant.

Jed-Forest had been due to host Gala at Riverside Park and Selkirk to welcome Kelso to Philiphaugh.