A LATE try by second row James Head gave Melrose a bonus point 34-27 victory and just reward for a muscular forward performance that had the Gala pack struggling for much of the match at the Greenyards.
Yet Gala fought against the odds and at one stage in the match led 27-17 only for ill-discipline to hand Melrose penalty opportunities. Fortunately for Gala, the Melrose goal kicker, Jason Baggott, was off form and it was only when Joe Helps came off the bench that the home side profited in front of the posts.
Tries by Craig Borthwick and Alan Emond and accurate kicking from Craig Dods gave Gala a 20-10 interval lead, Melrose having scored through Nick Beavon and Lewis Carmichael.
But tries by Bruce Colvine, Sam Pecqueur on either side of a Graham Spiers touchdown for Gala, levelled the scores before Head scored the winning points.
Hawick snatched a 17-13 victory over Currie in a dramatic finale at Mansfield Park. The home side plundered a 10-0 interval lead after a first half that was played mostly in midfield and was best forgotten.
But when Craig Russell was yellow-carded in the second half, Currie cashed in with two tries from Ross Weston and Hamish Bain in the space of eight minutes to lead 13-10.
However, in the second minute of injury time, and in the last move of the game, Darcy Graham crashed over for his second try and Lee Armstrong converted.
Hawick had taken the lead with an Armstrong a penalty in nine minutes. Hawick broke the try duck when Armstrong’s chip to the left-hand corner saw Graham win the race for the ball and Armstrong added the conversion. Currie’s James Bywater cut the deficit with a penalty.
Ayr staged a nine tries to two 55-21 demolition of Stirling County at Millbrae. County’s Shaun Treweek kicking two early penalties, but, once Robbie Fergusson notched Ayr’s opening try in 13 minutes, the tide turned.
Ayr had the bonus point wrapped-up inside half an hour, as Peter McCallum, Haddon McPherson and Cammy Taylor followed Fergusson over the whitewash, before George Hunter, playing at blind-side flanker, scored tries in the 35th, 38th and 40th minutes to make it 43-9 at the break – Treweek having briefly halted the one-way traffic with a third penalty. Ayr eased off before McCallum’s scond try, in 61 minutes. County scored a penalty try, converted by Treweek and an unconverted one from replacement Mark Hunter, before Ayr had the last word, prop Steven Longwell charging over. Frazier Climo had four conversions for Ayr, while Ross Curle, converted Longwell’s late touchdown.
Boroughmuir beat Selkirk 22-18 to remain unbeaten in the BT Premiership but the Meggetland men had a tough afternoon.
Two penalties by Rory Banks gave the Borderers a 6-0 lead after 14 minutes. Muir opened their account after almost half an hour when Magnus Bradbury thundered over after a close range scrum.
Greg Cannie nudged the hosts into the lead with a penalty and completed the first-half scoring by adding the conversion after skipper Andy Rose hurtled over for Muir’s second try. Andrew Renwick capped a spell of Selkirk pressure with an unconverted try. However, the hosts made the game safe when Mark Hare pounced on a loose ball and raced in. Cannie converted. But Cata Graur rumbled over and Banks converted to secure the bonus point.