Youngsters Finlay Rutherford and Jamie Crooks gave Gala some hope for the future in a spirited showing against Penicuik at Meigle Park.
On the back of two heavy defeats, which mean Gala are on the verge of relegation, 17-year-old Rutherford (45) and 15-year-old Crooks (24 not out) batted superbly in Gala’s innings of 149 all out, in reply to Penicuik’s 186 for nine wickets. On the club’s sponsors day, Gala could count themselves unlucky not to get closer to their opponents’ total and potentially win the game, after being on the end of three debatable umpiring decisions.
Gala captain Jack Halls chose to bowl first on winning the toss, and Dinesh Tharanga and Scott Paterson bowled well in the early stages, with Tharanga taking the wicket of Kris Steel.
Grant Davidson and Australian overseas Nick Kartas put on a swift 59-run partnership, with both players being dropped, until Davidson was caught by Tharanga from Paterson’s bowling for 37.
Penicuik looked ready to make an imposing score at 105 for 2 in the 25th over but Ash Rhode and Finlay Rutherford slowed the scoring rate, with Rhode also taking three wickets including Kartas (46). At 152 for 8, Gala were on top, but a late rally led by Nauman Hafiz (21 not out) proved pivotal in the game. Rhode was pick of the Gala bowlers with 3 for 22, while Tharanga (1 for 40) bowled as well as he has all season, and Finlay Rutherford’s 10 overs went for just 24. Finlay’s younger brother Harris also made his bowling debut for the first team.
In reply, Gala suffered a huge blow as Duncan Millar went for a duck in the opening over.
Jack Halls was then given out, caught behind, despite the opener claiming the ball had hit his jumper and not the bat.
Rhode and Finlay Rutherford put on 47 runs in quick time but, just as it seemed Gala were on top, Rhode was caught for 25. Finlay Rutherford kept Gala in the hunt but wickets continued to fall at the other end, and the promising teenager was then denied his maiden first-time 50 when he was stumped, although there were again questions over the decision.
Crooks took the game to Penicuik but he ran out of partners as Gala fell 37 runs short.