Gala made it three wins out of three in the RBS Borders Regional Cup with a hard fought victory over a plucky Selkirk side at a wind-swept Philiphaugh. At least the heavy rain had abated by kick-off time and Selkirk had the elements in their favour for the first half. The strong wind probably meant that a 15 point lead had to be the target and an early Fraser Harkness break for the Souters soon tested out the Gala defence. Michael McVie struck an accurate penalty to give Selkirk first points on the board after 5 minutes. Calum Johnston was next to break downfield as Selkirk looked menacing in attack and Gala were penalised allowing McVie a chance to extend the lead. Unfortunately for Selkirk, his kick struck the upright and the visitors scrambled the ball clear. Gala were defending well as Selkirk forwards and backs combined to set up a series of threats which were all repelled. The Maroons defensive chores were also made a bit easier by less than clinical finishing by the Souters. Harkness and Callum McColm were both agonisingly close to touch downs as the minutes ticked away and frustration was starting to show as the vital points were not forthcoming. Lee Millar, the Gala No. 10, cleared his lines with regularity and his line kicking into the wind was of top quality. It was Millar who brought the scores level after a sustained bout of pressure initiated by the Gala pack. In their efforts to secure a first half points advantage Selkirk opted not to kick for goal from a couple of penalties, preferring try making endeavours instead. However, the Gala defence stood firm and Selkirk's chances were dealt a blow when Andrew Renwick was yellow-carded for retaliation. The referee had no hesitation in reversing his penalty award to Selkirk and Gala finished the first half on the attack. The visitors were rightly well satisfied to turn around with the scores level at 3-all having weathered the storm. Indeed it was looking ominous for the Souters as the Gala forwards would be aiming to capitalise on their numerical advantage. It came as no real surprise that the solitary try of the afternoon was scored early in the 2nd half. George Graham was credited with the try after immense pressure close to the Selkirk line. Millar brought out full points and it looked as though the writing was on the wall for the home team. Selkirk showed commendable spirit by working their way upfield and mounting a series of drives for the line. Clement Lacour, Gordon Patterson, Gavin Craig all came within inches of scoring. Indeed, the ball was spilled twice over the line. Gala's Tom Weir was sent to the sin-bin after 55 minutes and again Selkirk chose for the scrum in front of the posts rather than opt for a kick at goal. Frankly, Selkirk did everything but score. This sustained period of attack dwindled after a five minute stoppage for an injury to one of the Gala props. Selkirk were penalised at the restart and Lee Millar cleared the danger with a thumping kick down to the Selkirk 22. With five minutes remaining, Millar provided the safety score for Gala with his 2nd successful penalty of the afternoon and Selkirk lost out by 11-3.
There were many positives to take from this performance against a good Gala side and youngsters such as Niall Godsmark, Callum McColm, Rory Banks, James Bett and Ewan MacDougal will all benefit from their involvement. Fitness levels are not in doubt and better finishing could easily have tipped the result in Selkirk's favour. Both teams deserve praise for giving 100% effort in difficult conditions.