Rugby Union: Gala show is strictly small beer
Gala 8 Kelso 3
Monday 26 April 1999
Aside from the fact that the Tennent's Velvet Cup final looked like a cross between hurling and shinty, the clubs, with little or no support from the SRU, have been screaming the same message. This was only the fourth cup final, and the last sponsored by Tennent's, who have cut and run with two years of their contract remaining. The Glasgow-based brewery has transferred pounds 2m to the Welsh Rugby Union and the World Cup, which hardly seems loyal to all those Scottish throats that swallowed two million pints of the stuff on Saturday alone.
The formation of the two so-called super teams, Glasgow Caledonians and Edinburgh Reivers, has left club rugby with the dregs. The cup final should be a spectacle between professional outfits, attracting not only the interest of the clubs involved, but also the floating voter. This was a domestic border skirmish between two Second Division amateur clubs and it showed.
Although the super team factor has undermined the first division teams, it has left the Borders buoyant. They enjoyed a clean sweep at Murrayfield, the Borders village Duns winning the Velvet Bowl, Jed-Forest the Shield and Gala the Cup.
There were tries galore in the curtain raisers, but for the National Velvet itself, cold porridge. Kelso, as the man in Dad's Army put it, seemed to be doomed... doomed. They lost the cup final last year and were beaten by Gala this season to the Second Division championship, although both are promoted.
Kelso gambled twice in the final and lost twice. Their South African full-back Kosie Alberts, who scored three tries in the semi-final against Boroughmuir, started the match with a heavily bandaged knee and limped off after 11 minutes. This not only persuaded Kelso to play virtually everything through their more powerful forwards, but Gala's spirits would have been raised to see the early departure of their opponents most attacking player.
Having kicked a penalty in the second minute, Kelso were very unlucky not to score a couple of tries, their outstanding flanker Stewart Bennet (an agronomist by trade) failing, by the width of a blade of grass, to touch down.
Kelso were settling for a 3-0 victory when, in the 76th minute, Chris Paterson looped outside his centres and found a gap to score the only try. A minute from time he added a drop goal. "All the Gala guys came up to us at the end and told us we deserved to win," Bennet said. "I'm afraid that didn't make us feel any better."
The Gala guys would not have said that had they lost. Gala stole the pie, and with it a cheque for pounds 20,000, but the sponsors millions have gone to Wales.
Gala: Tries Paterson. Drop goal Paterson. Kelso: Penalty Aitchison.
Gala: M Dods; G Parker, C Townsend, D Gray, K Amos; C Paterson, D Boland (G Robson, 55); A Johnston (G Easson, 62), S Scott, E Johnstone, R Gray (capt), N Hines, G Brown (P Harrison, 68), T Weir, J Amos.
Kelso: K Alberts (J Fleming, 11); S Ross, G Laing, K Utterson, D Baird; G Aitchison, G Cowe (capt); B Hogarth, K Thomson, D Howlett, S Rowley, C Rutherford (S Laing, 24), S Bennet, S Forsyth, D Rankin.
Referee: R Dickson (Madras FP).
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to recent expansion and gro...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A rewarding opportunity to work with an easy-...