RBS PREMIER DIVISION
Atholl Innes reports from Netherdale
GALA coach George Graham praised his players for a match-winning performance on Saturday… and then looked back to a rigorous training schedule on the Thursday night.
“What a difference. The conditions were ideal today, and on Thursday it was lashing with rain,” he told TheSouthern.
But the dedication and fighting through elements was rewarded with some swift handling on a sunny and warm afternoon, and Gala added to the occasion with a sparkling display of open rugby.
The first 20 minutes were simply exhilarating as Gala passed with confidence and control and their opponents were unable to get hold of the ball. At 21-0, a score of cricket proportions was on the horizon.
“We knew Boroughmuir would fight back for they are a good side,” said Graham. “But we did not deal with that particularly well and we had to ensure that we held on to the ball.”
After that drubbing at the start, Boroughmuir hit back with a vengeance to cut the gap to 21-20 before a yellow card to George Turner put the initiative back with the Gala side, who went on to score two more tries and move into second place in the Premiership race behind Ayr.
It was amazing the number of times that the Gala forwards met the apparently stronger Boroughmuir pack head-on, while in defence, despite conceding three tries, tackled with guts and determination.
“We lost too many points in the early stages and it is never easy playing catch-up rugby. But I have to raise my hands and say we gave away soft scores,” said visiting coach Fergus Pringle.
Craig Roberton and George Graham got Gala off to a flying start, and after a series of scrums, referee Andy McPherson awarded Gala a penalty try. Lee Millar converted all three.
But tries by Will Kay on either side of half-time and Ally Warnock’s kicking fired Boroughmuir back in contention until replacement Craig Keddie and then Craig Borthwick put some icing on the Gala cake.
There was still time for Kay to complete his hat-trick, but by then it was elementary.
Gala: A. McLean; G. Somerville, C. Auld, C. Borthwick, C. Robertson; L. Millar, George Graham; L. Pettie, C. Mackintosh, E. McQuillin, D. Marshall, O. Palepoi, Gary Graham, E. Dodds, G. Bryce. Subs R. Anderson, C. Keddie, B. Turner, S. Cairns, G. Young.