Gala have made sure that their supporters aren’t going to have anything other than a roller coaster run-in to the Premiership title they seek.
In yet another vital game the Maroons unsettled their fans with an off-colour start, but again they recovered to bring off a stirring win through a combination of purposeful running and the staunchest of defences.
It was a game that had the home support apprehensive when the team selections made it clear that no fewer than eight, some said ten, Gala forwards were unavailable through injury.
On Saturday the replacements performed heroics in defence with a series of tackles, a shrewd assessment of where Hawks’ strength lay, and a determination that a hard won and impressive lead would not be squandered.
With some alert running, sound handling, and a keen eye for the right line to take, the Gala backs made the hard work pay off with a four try victory and another bonus point.
George Graham was highly satisfied with his team’s showing.
“We could not have asked for anything more. It was a fantastic performance by the boys who’ve come into the side,” he said.
He was puzzled by the slow start but felt that it was a lot easier to get to the top of the league than to stay there.“Where everyone wants to knock you off,” he added.
Gala’s scoring reflected the positive approach of their backs, with two try Ewan Scott having an outstanding game. His centre partner Chris Auld was as good, and winger Grant Somerville took his score with style and pace.
Among the forwards Craig Borthwick and Opeta Palepoi shared the bulk of the successful work but veteran Ewan Johnstone and Rory Sutherland did a sterling job in holding off a big and powerful Hawks front row.
Gala’s poor start saw Hawks scoring through Andy Linton and Ross Miller, with conversions from former Melrose man Scott Wight. Scott managed a penalty between the tries.
When Miller was yellow carded Gala’s game became more fluid. Scott scored a try following a good lineout take and release, adding the extras himself.
Gala picked up the pace and Somerville scored far out with an impressive run down the right, Scott converting.
Gala opened the second half with a blaze of colourful running and handling, Scott Chapman ending it with a try. Gala’s control continued and Hawks became frustrated. Scott’s second try featured an incisive run after he took a pass from Andy McLean in top gear and cruised through to the posts, converting it himself.
All Gala had to do then was to maintain resolution in defence and see off Hawks’ late but ineffective response.