Gala struggle to shake off Cartha before late surge

A second-half touchdown for Gala by new boy Andrew Mitchell (picture by Alwyn Johnston).
A second-half touchdown for Gala by new boy Andrew Mitchell (picture by Alwyn Johnston).

Gala 53, Cartha Queen’s Park 27

Cartha kicked off at Netherdale in fine but cloudy conditions, with a fairly strong wind, which gave them the advantage in the first half.

Cartha immediately put Gala under pressure, which was successfully defended by some sound tackling.  

Gala gradually increased their pressure, which resulted in a cutting run by full back, Ruairi Howarth, scoring under the posts.  This was converted by Ross Cooke.

Cartha retaliated after 16 minutes when they took a quick penalty in the Gala 22. After a passing move across the pitch, centre Sam Harrison went over in the corner. This was unconverted and took the score to 7-5.

Three minutes later, Sam Harrison featured again when, following a break from his own half, he passed out and gave a straightforward try to the other centre, Liam Howieson.  This, again, was unconverted but put Cartha in the lead 7-10.

After 26 minutes, Cartha were awarded a penalty on the edge of the Gala 22. This was converted by Thomas Davidson, the fly half, for 7-13.

However, Lachlan Johnston scored under the posts for Gala following a five-metre scrum, which was successfully hooked by Gala, and quick thinking by the scrum half helped him see the opening and he went for the line.  Ross Cooke converted to nudge Gala ahead again 14-13.

There was still more excitement to come in this first period when, following a line out, Cartha collected and, after a swift passing movement across the pitch, flanker Ryan Howie scored under the Gala posts.  Thomas Davidson’s conversion made it 14-20. 

Gala quickly responded following a passing movement. The ball was passed out to winger Ross Cooke, who dived over in the corner,but the extras could not be added and half-time arrived with Cartha QP ahead 19-20.

With such an exciting first half, everyone was looking forward to the next period.  Gala now had the wind at their backs and, with both teams sitting on one point following the previous week’s games, each was keen for a good result in this game.

Gala kicked off the second half and, after only two minutes, were awarded a penalty which was successfully kicked by Ross Cooke, giving them back the lead at 22-20.

Five minutes later, Gala increased their lead when the team captain and number eight, Euan Dods, broke through following a ruck and then passed out to flanker Jesse De Vries, who scored midway along from the posts. His effort was successfully converted by centre Gregor Mein and Gala were 29-20 ahead.

After 28 minutes of the second half, Andrew Mitchell, the Gala centre, received the ball after a series of passes across the pitch following a successful Gala scrum. The goal extras were missed and Gala led 34-20.

The rampant Gala backs were now on the front foot and, after another successful passing movement, Euan Dods made his captain’s contribution by scoring near the posts.  Dean Keddie successfully kicked the conversion for 41-20.

Cartha were not going to lie down and their prop Juan Phyfer scrambled over under the posts, with Lachie Stout adding the two points to make it 41-27.

To finish this fantastic game for the home crowd.  Gala replacement Robbie Irvine scored after 39

minutes converted by Dean Keddie and after 42 minutes in injury time Andrew Mitchell scored

another try which was not converted but took the final score to 53-27.

Cartha returned to the west with one bonus point from scoring four tries, while Gala triumphed with a five-point

bonus point win.

This week, Gala travel to Inverness to play Highland before returning to Netherdale for their home game against Biggar.  

“We look forward to a big crowd to support Gala when they play Biggar, as it really helps the lads when they have a good home support to shout them on,” said a spokesman.