Rugby’s Tennent’s National League Division 1 title now ours to lose, says Gala’s Rex Jeffrey after latest win

Gala are keeping up their title challenge in rugby’s Tennent’s National League Division 1 following a 40-14 defeat of basement side Boroughmuir in Edinburgh at the weekend.

By Darin Hutson
Monday, 17th January 2022, 5:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 7:12 am
Kelso's Keith Melbourne challenging Ayr full-back John Fulton for a ball in the air (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Kelso's Keith Melbourne challenging Ayr full-back John Fulton for a ball in the air (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

That win puts the Galashiels team on 48 points from 12 games, taking them to within five points of table-toppers Heriot’s Blues and with two games in hand on the capital side.

Any hopes they might have entertained of Melrose doing them a favour and allowing them to leapfrog Biggar into second place were dashed by the South Lanarkshire outfit’s 25-19 victory at the Greenyards on Saturday, however, putting them three points ahead of Gala but having played one game more.

The Netherdale team’s tries at Queensferry Sports Hub were scored by John Turnbull, Marius Tamosaitis, Craig Dods and Fergus Johnston three times over, with Dods adding five conversions.

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Ayr's Jamie Bova trying to evade a tackle by Kelso's Bruce McNeil (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

That victory, the Borderers’ 10th of the season, puts them on the front foot in pursuit of promotion to the Tennent’s Premiership, according to captain Rex Jeffrey.

“With the games in hand, we’re right in the mix,” he told Borders Rugby TV.

“We’re in the driving seat basically, from our own point of view.

“At the moment, I’d say it’s ours to lose.

Kelso's Dwain Patterson coming up against Ayr No 10 Richie Simpson (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

“We’ve got a couple of big games to come up, but at the moment I think we’re playing well enough to go and challenge for the title definitely.

“We’ve sort of found a wee bit of stability here and we’re all wanting to get promoted back into the top league and hopefully challenge in the top league as well, but we’ll need to win this one first.

“It’s in our hands, I think. There are a couple of big games against Biggar and Heriot’s that are still to come, and Melrose as well at Netherdale, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Melrose are now sitting sixth in the table, with 40 points from 13 games.

Melrose's Lewis Martin putting in a tackle against Biggar on Saturday (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Gavin Wood, Bruce Colvine and Jack Dobie scored for them against Biggar, with David Colvine and Struan Hutchison converting, salvaging a losing bonus point.

Kelso remain in fourth place, three points behind Gala but having played three matches more, following their 23-3 win at home against Ayr on Saturday.

Keith Melbourne and captain Andy Tait scored for Kelso at Poynder Park, with Dwain Patterson contributing three penalties and two conversions.

Gala are at home to third-bottom Dundee this coming Saturday at 3pm, and Kelso and Melrose are both on the road, to Cartha Queen’s Park and Biggar respectively, with those games kicking off at 2pm.

Melrose's Gavin Wood lining up a tackle on Biggar No 13 Andrew Jardine (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Boroughmuir hosting Gala on Saturday (Photo: Boroughmuir RFC)