Maroons in struggle to dispatch Souters

Euan Dods feels the squeeze as Selkirk look to gain the upper hand. Photograph: Grant Kinghorn.
Euan Dods feels the squeeze as Selkirk look to gain the upper hand. Photograph: Grant Kinghorn.
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Gala 28

Selkirk 17

BOOKER BORDER LEAGUE

LAING SPEIRS reports from Netherdale

AFTER the elegant way in which they had disposed of Stirling, Gala were forced to turn to a very different style on Friday night.

Selkirk made sure the free-flowing operation of six days earlier was checked at source and the game ended up as the old-fashioned Borders scrap that many had anticipated.

Fraser Harkness, whose try for the Souters was one of the evening’s highlights, felt that his side had to live off scraps, but he thought that his team-mates had done well to contain the hosts on a ground where winning was never easy.

Gala coach George Graham’s elation at the team’s showing at Stirling the previous week quickly turned to despair.

He told us: “With all respect to Selkirk, we should have put them away and I’m disappointed with our performance.”

Six touchdowns were conjured up on a fine night for rugby, but two of them, both going to Gala, were penalty tries.

They emerged from the home scrum’s superiority at critical moments and was the first time that the Maroons have won a brace in the same game.

Selkirk twice went ahead after Gala’s first penalty try, goaled by Lee Millar, had been countered by Harkness’s solo effort from 40m out, Mike McVie converting and then adding a long penalty,

Selkirk were the more enterprising in the first half and had the edge until Craig Keddie got a vital try for Gala after another strenuous effort by the home pack.

Millar’s conversion was countered by a try from Ryan Crockatt, who fastened onto a short pass from the powerful Romanian Cata Graur to touch down at the posts. McVie added the extras.

At 14-17 against, Gala had to lift their game and a solo effort by Grant Somerville down the right wing, beating three men on the way, produced the critical try, which Millar converted.

With yellow cards as common as autumn leaves, it was no surprise when another penalty try sealed the game, Gala getting the score following a forward effort.

Millar converted to leave Gala at the top of Pool B in the Bookers Border League – with Jed-Forest left to play.

It was an evening when individual efforts at important moments turned the game, but as team efforts go it lacked a lot.

It didn’t set the sides back in their quest for more success, but it never looked like delivering the best potential from either outfit.

Gala: G. Young; G. Somerville, C. Auld, B. Turner, C. Robertson; L. Millar, D. Owenson; Martin Christie, C. Macintosh, E. McQuillin, C. Weir, Gary Graham, C. Keddie, K. Mein, E. Dods. Subs: R. Anderson, S. Cairns, D. Marshall, A. Emond, A. McLean.

Selkirk: F. Harkness; R. Banks, S. Hendrie, R. Nixon, D. Clapperton; G. Craig, M.McVie; S. Renwick, S. Forrest, C. Graur, A. Renwick, M. Kissick, E. MacDougall, A. Duckett, R. Crockatt. Subs: K. Monks, J. Bett, E. Turner, M. Waldron, A. Lambie.