It was another fine autumn day for playing and watching rugby and an opportunity for Gala to bounce back from defeat away to Ayr the week before and for Kelso to see if they could maintain their two five point wins from the first two games.
The first score for Gala came after 11 minutes after Kelso had been penalised for a scrum infringement. Gala opted for another scrum from which Euan Dods picked up and stepped to his right and fed winger, Fergus Johnston, who went over unopposed for his try which Craig Dods converted. Kelso were being starved of possession and were generally on the defensive due to excellent Gala defence against the heavyweight Kelso pack. Cameron Pate was penalised for a high tackle on Keith Melbourne and was rewarded with a yellow card. Kelso, however, were unable to capitalise on the numerical advantage with their best effort being a shot at goal following a penalty. Unfortunately, Dwain Paterson pulled the kick wide.
Both sides were feeling the wrath of Mr French, the referee, as a plethora of penalties was being dished out making the game very stop-start. A good passage of play by Kelso involving the back row and Matt Kindness and Frankie Robson broke down resulting in a break out by Gala who won a penalty for offside. Again, the hosts opted for a scrum and again Dods picked up at the base going left this time. He fed Fergus Johnston who was stopped short but the ball was worked out to Stephen Cairns who barged over on 37 minutes. Again, Craig Dods slotted the conversion to take Gala ahead 14-0 at the break
The second period showed a better start by Kelso and following a dart by Kindness, it appeared that Billy McNeil was on the end of a high tackle but the penalty had already been awarded. Gala kicked into the visitors 22 and drove the line out which was brought down resulting in a yellow card for Kelso’s tight head, Terry Logan. A short- handed Kelso held out with some sound defence especially on Johnston and Gregor Mein as they tried to breech the Kelso line. However, the inevitable happened with there being a man short and eventually Marius Tamosaitis crashed over for the third try which Dods was unable to convert.
At this point, Kelso upped their game and replacement, Euan Knox, was up in support as he followed a good line by Bruce McNeil after recycled ball, to cruise over for the try which Dwain Paterson converted. A period of aerial ping pong followed and this was followed by Kelso stealing a Gala line out and Murray Hastie chipping through for a lineout 5 metres out from the Gala line. Ryan Toogood and Frankie Robson took the ball on and it was eventually Bruce McNeil who scored on 66 minutes for Paterson to convert.
It was game on now. Kelso made a hash of the kick off reception and some good play from the Gala backs ensued resulting in a yellow card for Matt Kindness. From the resulting penalty, Dods put Kelso outwith the losing bonus point margin and ended the scoring at 22-14 for the hosts. They came very close to the 4th try when replacement Taylor Wilson seemed home and hosed for the try but knocked it on whilst stretching to ground it .
At this point everything Kelso did resulted in a penalty and another yellow card followed for Terry Logan. Unfortunately, this was his second resulting in a red card.
Although it wasn’t a free flowing game due to the number of stoppages it was certainly a hard fought Border derby with Gala running out deserving winners.