Gala face an in-form Ayr side on Saturday knowing that an improved performance will be necessary if the Maroons are to avoid a third successive defeat in the BT Premiership.
After losing to Heriot’s last Saturday at Netherdale, Gala’s coach, George Graham suggested his side had hit a bit of mid-flight turbulence.
He said: “We’re going through a wee bit of a bad patch. Every club goes through it. This is just our time. We’ll bounce back.
“I think we were well beaten, but I’m disappointed with the performance of my players. The thing that’s bothering me is that we haven’t played well for the past two weeks. The players are disappointed in each other and like any other players they’re looking for answers.”
Yet against Heriot’s, Gala did not do much wrong, they simply came up against a strong Goldenacre side that is on-song right now and which, as their coach Phil Smith confirmed, hit a seam of form last Saturday.
“This was our best performance of the season in respect of the full 80 minutes, but there’s still lots more to do,” said Smith.
The Maroons at times struggled to match the Heriot’s forwards in both the set scrums and in the driving mauls, while behind the scrum Gala’s backs became frustrated with the intensity and line-speed of Heriot’s defence, frequently leading to the Maroons turning the ball over.
Heriot’s looked like winners early in the game with stylish play that quickly produced a try for left wing Charlie Simpson after accurate passing from Jack Turley and Jason Hill.
Then after Heriot’s scrum-half Graham Wilson had been sin-binned, Gala stepped up their game to score a close range try by Luke Pettie from a line-out drive, Craig Dods’ conversion giving the Maroons the lead, only for the visitors to regain the advantage with a score by Hill from a move that owed everything to the pace of Harry Boisseau.
A Wilson penalty early in the second half extended Heriot’s lead, but Gala responded with power and precision from their forward and accuracy with ball in hand to produce a try for winger Shaun Law, with Keith Young delivering the final pass.
But thereafter it was Heriot’s who took ownership of the game, Wilson kicking a penalty goal and then converting a try by Stuart Edwards from a tap penalty move for a 23-12 lead.
Heriot’s, now ahead by a substantial margin then piled on the pressure in pursuit of the bonus point try and succeeded three minutes from full time when Glenn Bryce powered over the Gala line, Wilson’s conversion making the scoreline even more palatable for the league leaders.