Gala looking to make up ground on Ayr in title race

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Gala will be looking to keep up the pressure on RBS Premiership leaders Ayr when they take on Stirling County at Netherdale this afternoon.

The Maroons are currently seven points behind the 
Millbrae men with two matches in hand and, with the latter in RBS West Regional Cup action today, they will aim to make up some ground in the intriguing title race.

The Gala starting XV is 
unchanged from the one that defeated Edinburgh Accies seven days ago, with just one change on the bench, where Alan Emond replaces Zimbabwean Gerald Sibanda, who has a shoulder injury. Tim Clarke, Steve Swindall and Robbie Hogg come in to the County starting line-up for the encounter.

In the other top-flight 
match today, Dundee HSFP and Melrose are both desperate 
for a win at Mayfield. Robbie Lavery starts at scrum-half for bottom club Dundee HSFP with Andy Redmayne also brought in to the starting XV. Last 
week they pushed Ayr close, but know they need to improve on their two league wins so far in 2012/13.

Melrose’s loss to Currie last week saw them slip to fourth place and they know that two bonus point wins are ideally needed from their two outstanding fixtures in the coming weeks. The backline has been re-jigged for the trip north, with Alec Jessop, Jamie Murray and Richard Mill coming in.

The RBS Regional Cups get underway today in the Borders, Caledonia, Edinburgh and the West.

In the Borders, Selkirk and Kelso clash in the only match taking place.

In the Caledonia section, there are two matches – Aberdeen Grammar hosting Falkirk and Howe of Fife taking on Kirkcaldy.

The third scheduled match, between Dunfermline and Morgan Academy, is off after Morgan pulled out of the event citing “a lack of strength in depth”.

There are five matches in the Edinburgh section – Boroughmuir v Currie, Heriot’s v Edinburgh Accies, Biggar v Stewart’s Melville, Musselburgh v Murrayfield Wanderers and Watsonians v Lasswade.

Musselburgh will be looking for revenge after Wanderers beat them on league duty a fortnight ago while ex-Watsonians Dave Cockburn, Gavin Brown, Jamie Blackwood and Bernie Hennessey return to Myreside with Lasswade.

In the West section, six matches are taking place with overall cup holders Ayr hosting Hillhead/Jordanhill.

In that match-up Ayr are set to give South African Byron Schmidt his first start at prop after some good showings in the second XV.