Melrose move to the top

MELROSE moved to the head of the Premiership title race after achieving a narrow win over neighbours and championship rivals, Gala, at Netherdale on Saturday

In defeat Gala can take much from both there defence and their scrummaging where props Rory Sutherland and Euan McQuillin excelled but in the line-out battle it was Melrose who emerged the better. Behind the scrum Bruce Colvine for Melrose called the shots and at full back Austin Lockington, replacing the injured Fraser Thomson, threatened every time he ran the ball out of defence. In the Gala backline George Graham played a typically probing game but overall the Maroons’ backs were not at their fluent best.

It was Helps and Euan Scott who accounted for the 2-1 penalty goal score at half time. Scott then levelled the scores with his second success at goal before a surge by Gala from a line-out in the Melrose 22m area finished with centre Chris Auld scoring for the Maroons. Scott missed the conversion and a subsequent penalty shot but when Melrose applied pressure the dividend was a try for the Edinburgh professional Perry Parker, replacement Andrew Skeen adding the winning conversion goal

Scorers Gala Tries Auld Pens Scott (2) Melrose Tries Parker Cons Skeen Pens Helps (2)

Gala : A McLean; G Sibanda, C Auld, E Scott, G Somervilille; G Mein, George Graham; R Sutherland, C MacIntosh, E McQuillin, C Borthwick, O Palepoi, Gary Graham, S Cairns, E Dods Subs used J Hilterbrand, J Irvine, S Chapman, A Emond, G Speirs

Melrose: A Lockington; C Anderson, A Dodds, J Helps, M Robertson; R Mill, B Colvine; N Little, T Pearce, L Niven, P Parker, J Head, P Eccles, G Runciman, A Nagle Subs R Ferguson, G Holburn, G Dodds, R Knott, A Skeen

Referee G Wells

Full report and pictures from this game in this week’s Southern Reporter.