Melrose storm back to top table

Melrose are at the top of the RBS Premiership tonight after victory in a pulsating game of ebb and flow against near neighbours Gala at the Greenyards.  

Joe Helps, Melrose match winnerIt took an injury time penalty from Joe Helps from four metres inside Gala territory to see the hosts home and leave Helps, the 23-year-old product of Earlston High School, with an impeccable six from six kicking ratio.

His counterpart in maroon, Euan Scott, was equally flawless off the tee with five from five.  Indeed, the only miscue of the afternoon came from Gala, when Scott was off the field for an injury breather.

Two penalties apiece from the respective marksmen saw matters tied after the first quarter.

Melrose were first to cross the whitewash. Good continuity during a prolonged advantage from referee Peter Allan  saw hooker Todd Pearce surge over in the wake of Grant Runciman's charge. Helps' conversion and third penalty left Melrose 16-6 to the good at the break.

Gala were smartly out of the traps on the restart, full-back Graham Speirs benefiting from the width they brought to an attack with a fine try in the right corner, not that the width presented any problems for Scott.

However, instead of consolidating their fightback, Gala immediately conceded a penalty. Rich Mill opted for the touchline, Melrose caught and drove in textbook fashion and Runciman emerged with the score for Helps' conversion to open up the ten point gap again.

A penalty from Scott in the 54th minute had Gala back in sniffing distance but when poise and accuracy were called for from the visitors, they did not materialise, even when Runicman was doing ten minutes in the sin bin for slowing down ball at a ruck.

Runciman returned and Gala's chance perhaps had gone.  Not a bit of it though as their enterprise of going for the touchline was rewarded.

They had to charge down an attempted Melrose clearance off a turnover before Rory Sutherland  got the try and Scott, nervelessly, brought the scores level at 23-all.

That just left Helps to become the hero with his final successful strike amid a breathless finale.

Elsewhere in RBS Premiership Heriot's moved to second place with a 30-17 victory over Edinburgh Accies, Currie posted their first win, away to Aberdeen, Hawick accounted for Stirling at Mansfield Park and Ayr got the bragging rights in the west coast derby against Hawks.