PREMIER DIVISION ONE
LAING SPEIRS reports from Netherdale
GALA’S modest return of two tries after spending much of the game camped within the Heriot’s 22m area came as a big disappointment to coach George Graham.
It did earn them a deserved victory over a spirited Goldenacre side, but the coach, while delighted with another victory on their return from Division Two, knew that his side had to make much more use of territorial advantage.
Heriot’s were by no means a poor side, as they showed with their defence, and had some flurries, early and late, which indicated their potential.
But Gala have established an air of confidence even this early in the season, and were full value for a win, only blemished by poor finishing and the lack of a real cutting edge.
Scrum half George Graham had lots of ideas, and with a good supply of ball was able to put most of them into action.
Andy McLean has resumed at stand-off with a safe boot and an eye for an opening, and Gala were well served in the threequarters, particularly through two speedy runners in Shaun Law and Craig Robertson.
The pack spent a lot of time prodding and probing at the Heriot’s line, but, as in the home game against Ayr, couldn’t make the final breakthrough.
Coach Graham is delighted with the campaign’s start, and recalled that his first objective on returning to the top flight was survival.
“But we’ve done very well against the first teams we’ve met and we must keep that momentum going,” he added.
There were a few moments of anxiety early on for Gala, as Heriot’s set about playing an open and promising game.
But a long run by Euan Dods settled the Maroons, and they took possession of more and more of the field. Graham then released back-up runner Lee Millar, who scored at the posts after 25 minutes, adding the extra points himself. A heavy shower didn’t put Gala off and there was slick running featuring Law and Robertson. Heriot’s lost Jason Hill to a yellow card just before the interval, and Gala continued their control.
Useful little kicks from Millar and Robertson kept Gala in the attack zone, but despite pounding away, the home pack could not force their way over.
Eventually, with 10 minutes to go, the ball was released and replacement Alan Emond scored a clinching try for the second consecutive week.
Millar converted and once the result was secured, Gala’s main objective was to prevent a Heriot’s bonus point.
Their big full back Junior Bulumakau got in at the corner, but the kick failed and Gala could look back on a steady job handled well enough.
Gala: L. Millar; S. Law, B. Turner, C. Borthwick, C. Robertson; A. McLean, George Graham; L. Bertram, R. Anderson, E.McQuillin, C. Weir, O. Palepoi, D. Marshall, Gary Graham, E. Dods. Subs: P. Stewart, L.Roden, G. Lowrie, C. Auld, A. Emond.