Coach allows a smile as rampant Gala sit on top of the tree

A bloodied Craig Robertson scores, with Lee Millar looking on.
A bloodied Craig Robertson scores, with Lee Millar looking on.

Edinburgh Accies 16

Gala 36

PREMIER DIVISION ONE

ATHOLL INNES reports

from Raeburn Place

THERE was an edge about the travelling Gala support as they stood on the touchline, the pressure on George Graham’s men against an Accies side fighting for survival.

They need not have feared as Gala scored four tries, and gained the bonus point, before the interval.

The sleeping giants of Netherdale have woken from their slumber with a stirring display, which pleased normally reserved coach George Graham.

“I gave them (the players) a roasting in the clubrooms at half-time and I felt that we played much better in the second half,” he said.

And as the full-time score at Stirling filtered through, there was jubilant animation from the Gala fans.

Ex-president Gordon Richardson asked: “When were we last top of the league?”

George Graham shook his head – but he knows that this win was only the next stepping-stone and he must keep the players’ heads above the parapet.

For the record, Gala topped Division 1 at the start of season 1993/94 and the last time they won the league was in 1982/83.

Two home games are still to come before the split, and as league leaders, Gala will more than ever be the target – often better to be the chasers.

The Maroons ticked as their forwards started to dominate after that inconclusive first half which left the visitors ahead 22-11. They were so much in top after the break, they could have scored more than six tries.

Scrum half George Graham’s try just after the interval ensured that the points were heading back down the A7 and Accies’ try deep into injury time from Jake Knight was only a consolation.

The flurry of punches that followed were dealt only with a word to the captains – sensible refereeing by Cammy Rudkin.

Euan Dodds was named as Gala’s man-of-the-match, but each of the 15, plus the replacements, were valuable contenders.

Gala’s six tries were scored by Dodds (2) and one apiece for Lee Millar, Craig Robertson, George Graham and Russell Anderson.

Millar passed 100 points in his ninth Premier One game this season with his opening try, which set up the half-time lead, and went on to add three conversions.

Accies scorers were Greg Campbell and Knight (tries) and Stuart Evans (two penalties).

Gala: B. Turner; S. Law, C. Auld, A. Emond, C. Robertson; L. Millar, George Graham; L. Bertram, R. Anderson, E. McQuillin, C. Weir, O. Palepoi, D. Marshall, C. Lowrie, E. Dodds. Subs: J. Gilding, C. Keddie, Garry Graham, A. McLean, C. Borthwick.