Gala retain Waverley Cup with brilliant defensive display
Monday, December 26th, 2016
In the annual Waverley Cup match played every year on Boxing Day and sponsored by Sykes, holders Gala needed a draw to retain the trophy, but they had to dig deep to do so. Melrose, who rested several first team regulars, gave first team debuts to Aaron Welsh and Conall Howard as well as giving many of their youngsters a start, while Gala, while not at full strength, certainly had a team of mainly experienced first team players led by captain Graham Speirs. It was a low-scoring affair with just two unconverted tries in the entire match and bizarrely 13 minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game which appeared to be at least twice as long as expected. But both teams battled hard in wet and blustery conditions with Sam Pecqueur scoring a first half try for the visitors and Gary Adams equalising for the Maroons in the second period. Melrose had at least two clear-cut chances of tries in the second half and can consider themselves unlucky not to be awarded touchdowns by the outstanding Cameron MacKay and Callum Crookshanks. At the same time Gala defended bravely, something which will have delighted coach Chris Dalgleish, and in the end it was their work in this area which kept their line intact in the second period, and ensured they keep the trophy for another year.
5-5 on paper looks pretty dull but this encounter was tense and dramatic and edge-of-the-seat stuff. Watch highlights here.