Gala 15

Melrose 38

Atholl Innes

at Netherdale

MELROSE retained the Waverley Cup in a Boxing Day fixture that doubled up as a Booker Border League game and epitomised the difference in league rugby at the highest level.

It was Melrose’s day as they fielded a side with only four 1st XV starters and boosted their hopes of a place in the final against Hawick, who defeated Jed-Forest 26-17.

The visitors, after wins over Selkirk and Gala, need to beat Peebles in the final Pool game at The Greenyards to confirm their place in the final.

Melrose scored six tries and Struan Hutchison converted four.

And while Gala battled well, they lacked the experience to overcome their neighbours.

A big crowd was drawn by a game which is ideal for a holiday fixture, but it was all over by the interval when Melrose led 19-3 with tries from Calum Crookshank, Iain Sim and Andrew Jardine to a penalty from Dean Keddie.

The second half was much of the same despite Gala tries by Euan Dods and Graham Speirs, one converted by Keddie.

Melrose held the upper hand, Thomas Brown, son of Robbie, Sim again and Bruce Colvine touching down.

There were two yellow cards, Dods for Gala and Melrose’s Richard Ferguson, neither of which had any effect in the final scoreline.

Gala: G. Speirs; S. Mitchell, R; Jeffrey, A. Emond, J. Turnbull; D. Keddie, S. Fairburn; M. Christie, C. Keen, T. Logan, C. Weir, C. Pate, J. Irvine, L. Scott, E. Dods. Replacements: B. Reavley, J. Chambers, J. Easson, R. Tod, L. Johnston, I. Ross, J. Frew.

Melrose: D. Colvine; B. Colvine, P. Anderson, A. Jardine, I. Sim; S. Hutchison, C. Sheat; C. Crookshank, R. Ferguson, M. Wilson, T. Brown, P. O’Sullivan, C. Fairbairn, C. Wilde, A. Grieve. Replacements: B. McLean, W. Owen, C. Rogerson, B. Roden, J. Fairley, D. Crawford, J. Brown.