Outstanding for Gala was No 8 Ewan Dods who, aside from scoring a brace of tries for the Maroons, distributed with accuracy and provided the perfect link between backs and forwards. But the pack in general can take credit for its scrummaging and work in open play.
“I thought our defence was fantastic,” said Gala coach, George Graham. “We had total control of the game. I’m just so pleased for the boys”.
For Melrose, centre Bruce Dick made a welcome return after a lengthy period of rehabilitation, celebrating with two tries for the Greenyards side.
Both sides were missing key players for the game at the home of the Berwick RFC but Melrose were more depleted. Their coach, John Dalziel, said: “We were without our Scotland under-20 players and that made a difference. But Gala deserved their win. They were more physical than us. And we weren’t accurate”.
Gala looked likely winners at half-time, when they led 15-7 with tries by Dods and Gary Graham and a conversion and penalty from David O’Hagan to a try for Melrose by Dick converted by Joe Helps.
Then just after the break Dods scored his second try from good approach work by O’Hagan, who added the conversion. With Melrose lock James Head in the sin bin Gala should have profited more but, instead, it was Dick who skipped in for a second try – converted by Helps. In the final quarter, a try by scrum-half Ewan Gunter and a penalty by O’Hagan ensured the title was Gala’s.
Scorers: Gala: Tries: E Dods (2), Graham, Gunter. Cons: O’Hagan (2) Pens O’Hagan (2). Melrose: Tries: Dick (2). Cons: Helps (2).
Gala: C Dods; G Young, E Scott, A Emond, C Somerville; D O’Hagan, E Gunter; R Sutherland, C Mackintosh, E Johnstone, C Borthwick, C Weir, G Graham, S Cairns, E Dods Subs L Bertram, R Anderson, S Chapman, T Weir, C Weir, R Howarth, C Robertson.
Melrose: A Lockington; C Anderson, B Dick, J Helps, A Dodds; R Mill, T Wilson; N Little, R Ferguson, G Holborn, J Head, P Eccles, R Knott, A Nagle, R Miller Subs C Mackay, C Arthur, R Ovens, D Crawford, D Colvine, R Taylor.
Referee: C Rudkin