Gala v Melrose, all bets are off

Galashiels RFC coach George Graham at Netherdale.
Galashiels RFC coach George Graham at Netherdale.

Gala head coach George Graham admits his side must start living up to their great expectations if they are to rescue what is increasingly looking likely to be a lost season for the Maroons in 2015.

The Netherdale club have a golden opportunity to kick start their floundering season, which has them positioned in the relegation play-off places eight points adrift of safety, this weekend when they host title chasers and old rivals Melrose.

“Could Saturday be a catalyst to kick-starting something? Yes, it could but Melrose are massively ahead of us and despite having a misstep [against Boroughmuir] they will leave no stone unturned to get it right on Saturday,” said Gala head coach George Graham.

“It’s a huge match for us. Form and league positions go out the window in these Border derby match-ups and at the end of the day it’s who wants it the most.”

After a dismal run of 1-1-9 in their last eleven games, Gala look to have turned a corner in recent weeks. The defence is playing dominantly again and the Maroons came within a whisker of knocking off league leaders Ayr last weekend.

Graham acknowledged time is running out for his charges but has vowed to consider each week on its own merits and ignore what lies ahead as he looks to save his side from relegation.

“We’re in a dog fight,” said Graham.

“There are few easy games in the Premiership now, all the teams have closed the gap on each other. Last weekend we played better, coming close to getting a result but when you are at this end of the table luck almost always never falls your way.

The only way we can move forward and try to climb out of this position is use the age old cliché of taking it game by game. We can’t look to far ahead.”

With five games left of the league season, Hawick are entering a pivotal stretch in their pursuit of a first league title since 2002. Every remaining opponent, apart from Selkirk, is a play-off contending foe.

The Robbie Dyes travel to Malleny Park on Saturday to take on fourth placed Currie in what could amount, when the season is all said and done, to a de-facto final play-off place game.

For basement side Selkirk, a win this weekend over Boroughmuir at Philliphaugh would save the Souters from automatic relegation for another week but a loss would seal last season’s undefeated National One Champion’s fate.

In National League One promotion chasing Jed-Forest host fellow contenders Howe of Fife while Peebles makes the short trip to the capital to face-off against Stewart’s Melville and Kelso visit Mayfield Playing Fields for a contest against third placed Dundee HSFP’s.