Selkirk Stormers 29, Gala 'A' 22

Stormers turn tables on Maroons to ensure Selkirk 'A' finish top of the league

FLYING SQUAD. Selkirk Stormers flanker David Gray swallow-dives over the line for the first of his two tries in Saturday's 29-22 victory over Gala 'A' at Philiphaugh.

SATURDAY'S victory over Gala 'A' gave Selkirk's supporters double reason to celebrate - after four previous attempts it was the first time either Selkirk Stormers or Selkirk 'A' had managed to defeat the Maroons this season, while the win ensures Selkirk 'A' finish top of the Border Farm Supplies Championship going into the league's play-offs.

Under the captaincy of 35-year-old Gareth 'Hovis' Brown, Gala certainly didn't go down without a fight, and came close to snatching a dramatic draw after scoring two tries in the final 12 minutes of the game. This was a typically competitive, no-holds-barred derby, which kept the crowd in full voice throughout on a perfect day for running rugby.

"The Selkirk boys really stepped up their game today," Stormers forwards coach Tom Ramage said after the match, "and I was particularly pleased by the way our back row performed. We still have Jed 'A' to play this weekend, so hopefully the players can keep the momentum going and turn in another positive display."

Gala suffered an early blow in Saturday's match when lock Tony Waite suffered a painful knee injury in the third minute and took no further part in proceedings. Selkirk's first points came from a try in the right-hand corner by centre Jason Hendrie, after prop Steven Renwick had gathered an overthrown line-out ball and linked with his threequarter line.

Blindside flanker David Gray was next on the score sheet when he took advantage of a Gala knock-on to sprint clear and touch down close to the posts. Five minutes later Gray scored his second try of the match. A fine break by full-back Fraser Jack was continued by Darren Clapperton, but a high tackle on the wing by Tom Weir saw a penalty awarded to Selkirk. Rory Banks' kick to touch saw the resultant line-out won by Callum Marshall, and a couple of phases later Gray scrambled over for a touchdown.

Gala hit back with an opportunist try by scrum-half Euan Gunter following a handling error by Selkirk in midfield, with player-coach Chris Dalgleish adding the conversion to get Gala back in the hunt at 17-7. Just before halftime Gala full-back Ross Lindsay was yellow-carded for a late challenge on Ross Nixon, and soon afterwards Rory Banks scored an interception try for the home team, which he converted, to put Selkirk 24-7 at the break.

Early in the second period Selkirk prop Rob Taylor was sin-binned for a high tackle on Dalgleish, and the visitors took advantage to score a pushover try through number eight Mark Welsh. Clapperton and Ryan Henderson both came close to scoring for the Souters before the latter player latched on to a knock-on by Roden to race 60 metres down the pitch for a try to put the Stormers 29-12 ahead.

To their credit Gala refused to concede defeat, and well worked tries by Lewis Playfair and Lewis Roden brought the visitors right back into contention. With home hooker Scott Rodgerson yellow-carded for tripping in the 75th minute, Selkirk had to survive a late onslaught from the Netherdale men, but managed to keep their composure to run out winners.

STORMERS - F. Jack, D. Clapperton, R. Nixon, J. Hendrie, R. Henderson, R. Banks, S. Tough, B. Reid, P. Forrest, S. Renwick, C. Marshall, C. Ward, M. Robertson, D. Gray, J. Everitt. Replacements: C. MacDougall, D. Scott, W. McClymont, S. Rodgerson, R. Taylor, S. Nixon,.

GALA 'A' - R. Lindsay, T. Weir, W. Brownlee, C. Dalgleish, D. Lee, L. Playfair, E. Gunter, M. Angus, L. Roden, G. Lang, T. Waite, B. Rennie, G. Brown, R. Mitchell, M. Welsh. Replacements: E. Johnston, L. Bertram, S. Robertson.

Referee - G. King (Hawick Trades).

WING COMMANDER. Darren Clapperton leaves Gala's Tom Weir in his wake as he makes another telling burst in Saturday's match.

THE CLINCHER. Stormers wing Ryan Henderson scores his side's fifth try on Saturday to put the result beyond the Maroons' reach. (Photos: Grant Kinghorn)