All the best tae guid auld Gala

FIONA SCOTT meets the many well-wishers who sent Gala messages ahead of their RBS Scottish Cup Final.

THEY thoroughly deserve it.

That was the collective sentiment of all the Borders premier rugby clubs as they wished Gala RFC the best of luck for their impending RBS Scottish Cup final against Ayr at Murrayfield on Saturday, April 21.

Even Hawick coach Phil Leck, whose team has the pleasure of playing Gala in the Border League Final on Wednesday, April 25, wished his outfit’s oldest of rivals all the very best.

Really, he did!

It might be 13 years since Gala last got their hands on the Scottish Cup, but following a tremendous season which saw them challenge for the title before landing themselves a British and Irish Cup place, they will arrive at Murrayfield in much the same upbeat mood as in 1999 when they beat fellow Borderers Kelso 8-3 in a gritty final.

On that occasion, Jed lad Kevin Amos was having a season away from Riverside to play in the maroon jersey and was part of the Cup-winning squad. He, too, sent his best wishes to the team this week.

The Maroons bring a tradition of consistency to the Scottish Cup. They have played 58 ties in all, covering the knock-out formula and the pool set-up which has just been introduced. And they’ve won 44 of these games.

While contesting the Cup, Gala have met Ayr twice, winning on both occasions. They won by 32-0 in 2008-9 but the game they will be recalling in the next few days will be the first tie they played in their Cup-winning year. Victory over Ayr by 32-7 was one of the steps, and a vital one, on the road to Murrayfield, a road that the Maroons are travelling again this year.

And, local rivalries have been put aside as coaches, officials and supporters from around the region send their messages of support to the Netherdale club.