BORDER LEAGUE FINAL
FIONA SCOTT reports from Philiphaugh
BACK in August Gala rugby coach George Graham would have laughed had someone told him that his team would end the season by collecting the Scottish Cup and the Border League trophy.
But that’s exactly what has happened.
The Maroons topped off a fantastic season by lifting the Booker Border League title in front of a crowd in excess of 1,500 at Philiphaugh.
Weary from the previous weekend’s exertions, which saw them lift the RBS Scottish Cup, Gala mustered all the reserves they had to see off old rivals Hawick in the last XV-a-side game of the 2011/12 season.
It was Hawick who took the early initiative and were rewarded when Neil Renwick seared in for a try which he converted.
Gala closed the gap through a Lee Millar penalty, but Hawick regained control and Renwick slotted a similar effort to further stretch the lead.
Hooker Russell Anderson went over from close range to notch Gala’s first try. Millar converted and suddenly the scores were all square.
Now with their tails up, Gala won another penalty which they opted to kick to touch and, with the front row having a big impact on proceedings, Anderson again was trawled over the line. Millar added the conversion before adding the extras to his own try minutes later, following a jinky run to the posts. Half-time score 24-13.
Once again, Hawick started the brighter of the two teams. Gary Johnstone got hold of the ball and sprinted around the Gala defence to touch down. Renwick converted to leave only four points separating the two teams.
Not for long. Millar banged over two penalties before converting a superb try from Craig Robertson to end the scoring.
Speaking after the game, Graham said: “All I hoped to do at the start of the season was to consolidate our place in the Premier Division.
“What we have achieved is a credit to the character of the players themselves and I couldn’t be happier.”
Gala: A. McLean; F. Hunter, B. Turner, A. Emond, C. Robertson; L. Millar, George Graham; L. Pettie, R. Anderson, E. McQuillin, C. Weir, O. Palepoi, Gary Graham, E. Dods, G. Lowrie. Subs: P. Stewart, C. Keddie, S. Cairns, C. Dods, D. Marshall, C. Borthwick, R. Livingstone.
Hawick: N. Renwick; N. McColm, G. Hogg, G. Johnstone, C. Russell; R. Hutton, G. Cottrell; S. Muir, L. Gibson, S. Linton, M. Robertson, C. Smith, N. Mactaggart, B. McNeil, K. Davies. Subs: R. Sutherland, M. Landels, H. Scammell, R. Hogg, G. Anderson, L. Lawrence, G. Douglas.