Back in the groove

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Hawick Linden 44

Gala YM 3

RBS EAST LEAGUE TWO

FOLLOWING defeat at Trinity Accies a fortnight ago, Linden got back to winning ways on Saturday to maintain their push towards promotion.

It was a much-changed Gala YM side they faced at Volunteer Park to what they came up against at Netherdale earlier in the season, proving a tough nut to crack.

The home backs always looked dangerous, but took some time to get in the groove.

The Teries were quickly off the mark with a Stuart Renwick penalty, with the visiting stand-off levelling matters soon after with a similar award.

The first try came from a line-out catch and drive and, when ball was released to the backs, Nathan Murray went over at the posts. Renwick converted.

The second try couldn’t have been simpler. As a scrum twisted near the YM line, scrum-half Ryan Hamilton found wing forward Gary Wardle looping round to speed over in the corner.

Into injury time, great play by Linden gained good field position and Steven Bouglas came back on a good angle to cross over and stretch the Royal Blues’ lead to 20-3.

The hosts were now looking for a vital bonus point try, which took until the 23rd minute of the second half to arrive. Replacement scrum-half Stuart Campbell found Hamilton, who had moved to stand-off, and his pass to Sean Goodfellow saw the strong-running centre spin out of a tackle and go under the posts before converting himself.

Linden emptied their bench, injecting more urgency into their play. Greg Thomson retreated to field a Gala clearance kick and ran back with vigour. A couple of rucks later, Craig Mitchell burst through in midfield, linking with Blair Irving, who gave Greg Bouglas an easy run in to the corner.

Some great handling in lead-up saw Thomson surge into enemy territory and Steven Bouglas was in support to touch down under the posts. Terry Skeet majestically drop-kicked the conversion.

With time almost up, Thomson sped up the touchline and his kick ahead ricocheted kindly for Greg Bouglas to hack on and plunge over for his second try of the day and Linden’s seventh. Skeet’s conversion slipped narrowly wide.