LAING SPEIRS reports from Netherdale
BOTH teams have some important unfinished business to dispose of in Group B of the promotion race, and it was Gala who emerged from this friendly match with a bit more confidence.
The only query over a very steady performance concerned some of the unforced errors in handling and kicking, but the side’s tackling was well up to the mark, and there was a welcome enthusiasm to move the ball around.
With Gala’s three tries all coming from the backs, the thin crowd was able to appreciate some clever running, with a fair showing of enterprise.
Coach George Graham considered that the team had delivered just what was wanted in the build-up to the vital match against Stirling.
He said: “They did what they had to do – that was just what we needed to set ourselves up for next week, even though there were a lot of errors.”
Over the season Gala have blown hot and cold, frequently in the same game, and on Saturday, too, there were times when they let Watsonians have a bit too much freedom.
The last 10 minutes saw Gala ease off and they conceded two converted tries, which in other circumstances could have proved a major embarrassment.
Not the first time, the Maroons’ scrum was the stronger outfit, with a solid front row, an impressive lineout pairing, and a back row which was pretty lively.
Lee Millar continued to grow in authority as he directed the backs and there was some good running from the threequarters.
Having missed out early on with some handling blemishes, Gala had to wait until the 27th minute to open the scoring. Fraser Hunter was creative in getting the try after Bruce Dick and Millar did the leading up work, the stand-off converting.
More near things followed, but it was into the second period before the home side scored again.
George Graham pounced on a loose ball and hacked downfield, the follow-up run from Millar getting the latter a try far out.
Dick produced a scorching run through a thin defence to score shortly afterwards, Millar converting and Gala easing to a 19-0 lead.
But while the wheels didn’t quite come off for Gala, they certainly endured a puncture, Dan Gorman and John Ellis scoring in the last 10 minutes, with Jamie Blackwood kicking the extra points.
It wasn’t fatal, but from the point of view of morale it was helpful that Gala set off on this important week with a satisfactory win behind them and much-needed match time.
Gala : M. Walton; G. Young, B. Dick, A.Emond, F. Hunter; L. Millar, George Graham; A. Johnston, L. Roden, E. McQuillan, O. Palepoi, D. Marshall, G. Haurua, Gary Graham, E. Dods. Subs: C. Dods, M. Welsh, P. Stewart, S. Chapman and T. Weir.