Great game in prospect as Gala and Selkirk aim to preserve perfect start

Gala's Rex Jeffrey iin the thick of the action against Cartha Queen's Park (picture by Alwyn Johnston)
Gala's Rex Jeffrey iin the thick of the action against Cartha Queen's Park (picture by Alwyn Johnston)

The fortunes of a number of Borders clubs are already providing intrigue with the rugby season still only in its early stages.

The contrast could scarcely be more vived in the BT Premiership, with Melrose at the top after a 100 per cent win rate, and Hawick, flailing above Boroughmuir in the basement, with four defeats from four.

Melrose have an appetising home game on Saturday against Currie Chieftains, while Hawick face an intimidating trip to Glasgow Hawks.

The Borders’ game of the day, however, is the BT National League Division One face-off at Netherdale between Gala and Selkirk.

Both sides have won all four league games so far and have been scoring an abundance of points, so a crackling encounter should be in prospect.

Gala, who fell from the Premiership last season, will aim to be “sound in defence”, said captain, Graham Speirs.

“The boys are excited for it – it’s good, albeit in the early stages, to have two Borders teams that are playing quite well. It’s good for Borders rugby in that respect,” he said.

“We just want to make sure we prepare for it in the same way we’ve prepared for our games before – that we don’t let the occasion get ahead of us too much.

“We’ll have to make sure our defence is pretty solid – Selkirk are going to run hard at us. They have scored a lot of tries this year (29 in four games) and they are going to try and challenge us with ball in hand.”

Souters manager Tom Ramage said his players, fresh from a mammoth 87-point outing against Falkirk, were equally enthusiastic.

“I’m looking for a tight, exciting game,” he said. “Hopefully, Gala will be playing open rugby, as we do – we expand the ball all the time. It’s the first time we have had a real test against a Borders club this season, so the boys are up for it and really excited.

He added: “We are a running team and we have to play to our strengths. The pack is playing well and we can utilise our wingers and full back – bring them into line and hopefully create try-scoring chances. We’ll start from nil and see who comes out on top.”

Melrose head coach Rob Chrystie hoped their game with Currie at the Greenyards would, like last Saturday’s win over Glasgow Hawks, be a good advert for the Premiership and exciting to watch.

Currie would want to repair the damage of a home defeat by Ayr, while Melrose would, as always, be searching for improvement. “That depends on who comes in to the squad as well – ensuring that, when boys come in, they perform well and take their opportunities,” added Chrystie. That is our focus as well, going forward.”

Hawick captain Bruce McNeil has said the Robbie Dyes were locked in a relegation battle after four straight losses and hoped for renewed commitment from the squad. They face Glasgow Hawks at Balgray, having been battered 70-7 last weekend at Heriots.