The club was established on Thursday the 2nd of June, 1853 following a petition forwarded to the Laird of Gala by mill workers in the town. Around one month later, the club was presented with its first playing ground, an enclosed area on the Abbotsford Road, now more commonly known in the town as the Public Park. The clubs first match on record came in the same year, on the 20th of August against Selkirk!
In 1869, the first signs of junior cricket emerged, and a side was formed under the name of Gala Forest. Around the same time, due to an increase in playing membership and number of teams, the club decided to turf a new ground situated at Kilnknowe Farm. This sparked a large junior interest in the game with different clubs forming. It is reported that there were clubs called Leabrae, Wanderers, Galabank, the Union and Birks.
In 1877, numerous matches were recorded between the towns local mills such as Gala Mill, Netherdale and Buckholm suggesting their was a strong interest in the game in the town. This perhaps provided an early indication of what was to later become the Factory Cup. The mills and factories would continue to play each other at the Public Park even after the clubs move to Mossilee. There has even been a match on record at Buckholm Mill.
In 1878, the club held a meeting to discuss ground troubles. It is recorded that the meeting concluded that if Gala were to establish themselves in Border Cricket, they would need to secure a new ground. By 1880, it was decided that due to the field being in such a state, no games could be played.
In 1881, it is reported that a new ground at Mossilee was ready to be laid, and the club made the move in early 1882. It has been our home ever since. The clubs first game at their new ground came against the Grange on the 10th of June. Following the clubs departure from Abbotsford Road, the area was then pronounced as a Public Park. A new pavilion was opened at Mossilee in 1884.
The year 1886 was the first recorded year of the towns Factory Cup and reportedly drew considerable interest from the towns mills and factories, with Gala Mill victorious.
In 1895, The Border League was formed, initially starting with 5 clubs – Gala, Kelso, Hawick, Melrose and Selkirk. 1895 also marked an important year in the clubs history having signed a young Yorkshireman named Wilfred Rhodes. Rhodes would play for the club for 2 seasons before playing First Class Cricket for Yorkshire and then 58 Test Matches for England, including Ashes series’. In 2015, a newspaper article written in the 1930s was discovered in a garage in West Yorkshire. In the article, Rhodes said he had “happy recollections” of his time at the club. This article can be found in our clubrooms today.
In 1904, the club welcomed the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) from Lords during their tour of the Borders but were convincingly defeated. During the early 1900s, the number of teams in the Border League began to fluctuate, and decreasing teams meant that interest in the competition was faltering, with only 4 participating teams recorded in 1910. Over time however, this number began to increase once more.
In 1911, Mossilee hosted its first and only recorded first class match. The game was a 3-day match between Scotland and India, ending in a draw.
During wartime, the ground was kept in a good state by volunteers which meant the club could return to playing in 1919. Sadly, however, the club lost many players to the war.
In 1927, the club hosted a One-Day match between New Zealand and the South of Scotland which featured 3 Gala players. However, the sider unfortunately lost to the visitors. In 1928, financial difficulty led to club to discuss a potential move to Netherdale however this ended up falling through.
During the years of the Second World War, Gala continued to play fixtures against other Border Clubs however only fielded one XI. Fixtures however were few and far between.
After the war, Gala boasted a very strong side, winning the Border League 12 times in 13 years between the early 1950s and 60s. Many names that many of us recognise today were in the side such as Murray, Crooks, Nichol, Hardy, Lyall.
In the 1970 season, the club seen the breaking of a 73 year long record. Ronnie Murray scored a total of 1051 runs in one season, the first Gala player ever to do so after the previous best was held by Jim Mercer, 808 in 1897! Murray was and is continued to be regarded as one of the best batsmen the club has produced.
In May 1976, Rae Nichol hit the highest individual score in club history, scoring 232 not out against Selkirk at Philiphaugh. The score is also understood to be the highest ever scored individually in Border Cricket. Rae is also regarded as one of the best cricketers the club has produced and he also went on to represent Scotland ‘A’. In memory of Rae, Gala play Selkirk annually in the Rae Nichol Memorial Trophy to commemorate the man and the innings he played.
Gala won their 28th Border League in 1975 but would have to wait another 21 years before their next victory. In that time, The Factory Cup played its last year in 1992 and was replaced with the Factory Cup Sixes Tournament in 1993. This has more recently become the ‘Pub’ Sixes and now ‘Social’ Sixes and the club continues to run an event annually. Further cricket on the social scene began through the starting of ‘the 3rds’ fixtures on a Friday night where social members of the club would play against local companies or sports teams in a 20 over game.
In 1996, Gala won their 29th Border League and this marked a slow rise in becoming one of the strongest sides again in Border Cricket. Following a period of very limited opportunities for junior cricket in the town, the club also began re-establishing a strong junior section that would bode well for the years to come.
In 2003 the club celebrated its 150th anniversary. In celebration, a Gala XI played the a Scottish Cricket Union XI at Mossilee. Special guests in the Gala side were Scotland player Craig Wright and the number 1 batsman in the world at the time, Indian, Rahul Dravid. The SCU XI ended up victorious by 42 runs but it was a day that will live long in the memory of the club. Brand new refurbished clubrooms were also opened by Dravid as part of the celebration.
Gala were once again asserting themselves as one of the more dominant teams in Border cricket by the end of the first decade of the millennium. Between 2005 and 2011, Gala won 9 Border Trophies, Including 2 Border League Titles.
But in 2011, there was a big change. Following Langholm’s decision to depart the Border League, the sustainability of the league was hanging by a thread. Despite Gala wanting to remain in the league, other clubs had decided they wanted a change. The league was disbanded after a 116 year long stint.Attempts to continue it in some form through 2nd XI cricket on a Sunday were attempted but a dying interest in the sport in the region meant there were not enough clubs to compete.
As of 2012, Gala would enter the Divisions of the East of Scotland Cricket Association (ESCA). We were placed in Division 3 as a result of finishing 2nd in the final season of the Border League. This would not stop the clubs winning form however. The 1sts won back to back trophies to get promoted to Division 1. Three seasons later we would then gain promotion to the ESCA Championship (joint second tier of Scottish Cricket). Following relegation in our first year there, the club bounced back quickly, winning the Division 1 trophy and emerging to where we are today back in the Championship. Overall, the integration into the ESCA Leagues has been a success for Gala, having won a total of 6 ESCA trophies since our arrival in 2012.
During that time period the club has also developed strong links with our community and hosted many social events at the club such as Gin Nights, Race Nights, Bingo Nights, Afternoon Tea in the Marquee and many more
In early 2020, the club announced that it would field a 2nd XI for the first time in around 35 years. On this day, the club currently fields a 1st XI, 2nd XI, Sunday XI at senior level and fields an under 16, under 14 and under 12 side at junior level.