Galloping Gala raise Border League fears

Gala 111

Langholm 0

BORDER LEAGUE

Laing Speirs reports from Netherdale

THIS game posed no problems for Gala, but left a major query hanging over the future of the Border League.

A few more results of this scale will see the world’s oldest rugby union league losing its credibility as a competitive competition.

In Monday’s match, Gala recorded their second highest ever score – the highest was the 112-4 win over Gordonians 28 years ago – and captain for the day Andy McLean kicked 12 conversions to beat Dave Bryson’s 11 in the same match.

Of even greater club importance, Gala are now in the final of this year’s Bookers Border League, but, like the RBS Scottish Cup, that will have to wait while the Premiership battle is resumed.

Langholm don’t look for sympathy in their present difficulties, but it’s hard to see a way out for them while they continue to face such overwhelming problems in every match against opposition clearly away beyond their resources. They turned up with only 16 players available, but had they scored a single try they would have earned the biggest cheer of the day.

Gala were playing at the very top of their form, with 17 tries split mainly among the backs in the first half and the forwards after the break.

Once again it was Gala’s pace that gave them their overwhelming victory. A hat trick for fullback Gavin Young was on the board after fewer than 20 minutes, with wingers Fraser Hunter and Ross Livingston adding other tries. Alan Emond and McLean scored before former Langholm hooker Russell Anderson and Craig Roberston, playing at scrum half, crossed the line. McLean’s eight conversions saw Gala sitting on a 61-0 interval lead, and the healthy holiday crowd was not particularly happy at the prospect of watching more blood-letting in the second half.

That turned out to be another massacre of the innocents, with a courageous but all a totally outclassed Langholm could do was give away one try fewer than in the first half.

The second half scorers were Craig Keddie (two tries) Anderson, Gary Graham, Gary Lowrie, Livingston, Hunter, and Emond, with Craig Dods landing a late conversion after McLean had set a new club record – not that he knew it at the time.

Gala: G. Young; R. Livingston, A. Emond, B. Turner, F. Hunter; A. McLean, C. Robertson; L. Pettie, R. Anderson, P. Stewart, C. Weir, G. Graham, C. Keddie, G. Lowrie, T. Weir. Subs: E. Dods, C. Borthwick, C. Dods, S. Cairns, E.McQuillan.

Langholm: C. Jardine; A. Tyler, C. McSkean. L. Miller, R. Mackay: N. Cubbon, S. Devlin; D. Diversd, D. Johnstone, M. McGimpsey, C. Little, J. Ratcliffe, J. Ashton-Smith, J. Reid, S. Howaston, S. Graham. Sub: D. Halliday.