Melrose 53-31 Gala: Hosts defeat their Borders rivals in eventful match at The Greenyards
Keiran Clark's try after just eight minutes at The Greenyards – converted by Struan Hutchison – put Melrose 7-0 up before Hutchison scored the hosts’ second try which he converted himself for 14-0.
Then, after a clearing kick from Gala, Melrose passed the ball wide to Bertram who ran round the defenders for a sensational score in the corner.
But the visitors hit back when Scott Peffers scored a try converted by Russell Kerr to make it 14-7.
Straight from kick-off, Matty Bertram’s brilliant solo try – converted by Hutchison – restored Melrose’s 14-point advantage.
Ben Mclean’s line break then set up Will Ferrie to drive over for a score to make it 26-7 and secure their four-try bonus point.
But Gala reduced their leeway to 26-14 at half-time with Ben Gill barging over for a score converted by Kerr.
Five minutes into the second half, Dougie Crawford set up Hutchison who ran home with speed and intent for his second try.
A driving maul by Gala at the other end resulted in Lachlan Johnston scoring a converted try for 31-21.
Although the visitors then got within seven points with Russell’s penalty, Melrose responded when Crawford spotted a gap between the Gala defenders and dived over the line to make it 36-24.
Good play by Betram down the wing then set up Roly Brett for a try which extended the Melrose advantage to 17 points.
After the ball was spilled from Gala on their own goal-line, Crawford then produced a brilliant display of acrobatics to slam the ball down and score his second try of the afternoon, converted by Hutchison for 50-24.
Gala hit back when Johnston’s bonus point try was converted by Kerr, before the final action of the day saw a Hutchison penalty landed for 53-31.
Melrose’s Crawford told Borders Rugby TV post match: “Team performance wise we’re happy with that. Bonus point at home and 50 points in a local derby is really good.
"Loads we can work on as well. Play in the right areas, making the right decisions at the right times, when to play, when to kick.
"But it’s great to get a win, good to be back as well, I really enjoyed it.
"We really tried to run Gala off their feet, because we know if we play our way and move the ball, we’re going to be deadly and we’re going to score tries.
"Matty Bertram’s one for example, what a try. He got an opportunity today and he took it with both hands, I thought he was brilliant.
"And some other guys put in big performances, both in attack and defence.”
And Gala’s Liam Scott said: “Thirty-one points is good, but it’s not good enough.
"We want to come here and we want to win. We’ve got a few issues to address, discipline being one of them which has hurt us massively today.
“I don’t think we should be conceding 50 points but credit to Melrose, they played well and they punished us when they could.”
This Saturday sees fifth-placed Melrose visit Highland in the league while sixth-placed Gala host Ayr, with both games kicking off at 3pm.