Melrose, Gala and Kelso all victorious in rugby's NL1

All three Borders teams in rugby’s Tennent’s National League Division 1 notched up victories at the weekend.

By Darin Hutson
Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 8:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 8:32 am
Melrose try-scorer Aidan Cross collecting the ball against Ayr (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Melrose try-scorer Aidan Cross collecting the ball against Ayr (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Melrose beat Ayr 28-17 at home and Gala and Kelso both claimed wins on the road, the former edging out Highland 16-15 in Inverness and the latter battering Edinburgh’s Watsonians 53-7.

Donald Crawford, Bruce Colvine and Aidan Cross scored tries for Melrose, with David Colvine supplying three penalties and two conversions.

Kyle Scott and Euan Dods scored tries for Gala, with the latter adding two penalties.

Aidan Cross being supported by Richard Ferguson against Ayr (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Saturday’s results leave Gala in third place in the 12-team table, level with second-placed Biggar on 32 points from eight games, and Melrose fourth, on 30 points from nine games. Kelso sit sixth with 29 points from 10 games.

Gala and Kelso both have the coming weekend off but Melrose are in action again, playing Stirling Wolves away on Friday, with kick-off at 7.30pm, that being a game rescheduled from the end of October due to a waterlogged pitch.

The Greenyards side’s next game after that is exactly a week later, on Friday, November 19, away to Kelso.

Gala next play on Saturday, November 20, at home to Biggar, with kick-off at 3pm.

Gala on the ball against Highland (Photo: Owen Cochrane)

Melrose assistant coach Graeme Dodds, playing for the team for the first time in five years at the age of 38, was pleased by how the hosts managed their game against Ayr, telling Borders Rugby TV: “The big emphasis this week was on game management. The voices through the core of the team managed the game really well and kicked at the right times.

“There were good calls as well from penalties, when to go to corners and when to kick at goals. That was the difference today.”

Stuart Johnson, forwards coach for the Galashiels side, was also happy come Saturday night, saying: “We’re really happy with that result.

“Highland’s never an easy place to go and get a result, as lots of other teams have found out in the past, so to come away with four points is exactly what we asked for and we’re coming down the road with that so we’re extremely pleased.

Gala players celebrating victory over Highland (Photo: Owen Cochrane)

“The attitude and the heart and the desire to win that game showed up.”

Kelso director of rugby Neil Hinnigan added: “Kelso were on top, up front especially, and kept it up most of the game and we ended up winning 53-7.”

David Colvine on the ball for Melrose against Ayr (Photo: Bill McBurnie)