Atholl Innes reports from Meggetland
GALA’s two coaches, George Graham and Scott Nichol, agreed that the players had done it the hard way at Meggetland – three yellow cards and a missed penalty in the final minutes failing to halt the Maroons’ machine.
“We did not go expecting a bonus point, but we are happy with the result,” said Graham.
Nichol added: “It was maybe exciting for the crowd watching it, but not for the coaches.
“We expected it to be close with them (Boroughmuir) desperate for the points.
“They chucked bodies into the breakdown and we had to deal with that. We had the yellow cards, but felt that they were infringing all of the time.
“But I was glad that we held on and deserved the win. I thought that the late penalty (to win the game) was harsh and I had a feeling that they would miss it.”
The penalty, deep into injury time after Craig Borthwick’s high tackle on Damian Hoyland after the ex-Peebles player had stopped the latter in full tilt minutes earlier, earned him a yellow card, Gala’s third.
But Harry Leonard, released by Edinburgh, missed the kick from close range, after hitting a post with his conversion attempt of Kian Coertze’s touchdown with nine minutes left. The extra injury time had Leonard under pressure and Gala were relieved to see the ball go wide – so strengthening Graham’s policy not to take up the offer of professional players.
“They come for training once a week, need to get to know the players and the code calls, and we are happy with our own set of players,” he said.
The Netherdale men’s best scoring chance came in the second half when George Graham (No. 9) broke clear with Borthwick at his elbow.
He did not pass the ball, but Nichol admitted: “I am not sure if he would have scored.”
Gala had to weather the early Boroughmuir pressure and it took Leonard only 11 minutes to kick his side into the lead. But he missed a second effort before Lee Millar turned the table in the 33rd and 40th minutes to put Gala ahead.
Bryce Turner was the first visitor to be sent to the sin-bin, but Gala rose to the occasion and two more Millar penalties stretched the advantage to 12-3.
Leonard cut the deficit and Coertze was driven over, with Chris Weir yellow-carded.
The finale hung on Leonard’s missed kick – and the rest is now history.
Gala: A. McLean; C. Robertson, C. Auld, B. Turner, G. Young; L. Millar, George Graham; L. Pettie, R. Anderson, E. McQuillin, C. Weir, O. Palepoi, C. Keddie, Gary Graham, S. Cairns. Subs: C. Mackintosh, T. Weir, C. Borthwick, C. Dods, D. Owensen.