Red Triangle raise the bar in kicking record

GALA kickers proved themselves the cream of the crop at Netherdale on Saturday and got themselves into the Guinness Book of World Records.

The town has enjoyed a long history of producing great kickers, such as Peter Dods, Arthur "Hovis" Brown, Colin Gass and Jim Maitland. Not forgetting, of course, Chris Paterson, who holds the record number of caps for Scotland (100) and is widely recognised as one of the world's most technically-gifted kickers.

Gala Red Triangle proved that with a bit of community spirit, a sprinkling of spot-on organisation and a helping hand from a few of the aforementioned legends, anything is possible.

Among the legends taking part were brothers Peter and Mike Dods, Brown, Gass and Maitland. Paterson was unfortunately unable to attend after picking up a bad kidney injury five minutes into his 100th cap against Wales. They were backed up by former players such as Colin Campbell and Alan Niven, Gala's Ben Murray, Gala YM's Michael Dodds, Craig Dods – Borders Under-18 star and son of Peter – and a raft of Red Triangle lads, including: Gregor Mein, Fraser Welsh, Ryan Paterson, Keiran Miller and Keith Young.

They set off attempting to break Haddington RFC's record of 374 penalties in one hour, kicking from three stations on the 22m line.

They did this in just over 20 minutes – and went on, despite increasingly tired legs, to record a total of 1,037 successful penaltites.

It was a truly mammoth effort, helped in no small way by the team of Red Triangle players who helped get the balls back to their team-mates at the kicking stations in double-quick time.

Peter Dods, who holds the top scoring record for the Maroons, was delighted to help out.

He told us: "It's been a few years now since I pulled on my boots, but I've thoroughly enjoyed what's going on today. It's a nice wee fundraiser for the Hearts and Heroes charity and for the Triangle.

"The score is surprising, but I think the organisers have done a very good job. You can see how efficient it is and how well the guys are kicking the goals."

Indeed, the legends were not missing much. Colin Gass thumped the balls over the bar with robotic regularity and even Hovis Brown, who insisted that the last time he pulled on boots they had cork studs, was splitting the uprights again and again.

To be honest, everybody at the club fully expected to beat the record. But to reach 1,037 was not in the script. The total was a surprise to everyone, even the organisers.

One of them, Bruce Robertson, said: "We have raised 1,700 with more coming in, and we beat the record by some distance, which is a nice surprise.

"Gala has a long history of producing great, technically-gifted kickers. I think it's hereditary"