Gala beat Heriot’s in cup tie rehearsal

Gala 29, Heriot’s Blues 21

Monday, 20th January 2020, 12:10 pm
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 12:10 pm
A touchdown for Heriot's by Stephen Martin but the spoils of victory went to home side Gala (picture by Alwyn Johnston)

Heriot’s Blues started this game with determination and good possession. Despite Gala’s strong defence, it took Heriots eight minutes to break through.  

Following good pressure, they were awarded a penalty which was placed into touch deep in Gala’s 22 metres.  

Heriot’s Blues won the ball from the line out and, after a good passing move, centre Stephen Martin crossed the line to score.

This was converted by scrum half Graham Wilson to give Heriot’s a 7-0 lead.

Gala took only five minutes to respond. Following a penalty to touch and a good, strong rolling maul, the team captain, number eight Euan Dods, gathered the ball and passed to second row forward Robbie Irvine to use his upper body strength and crash over for a Gala try. This was converted by full back Ross Cooke to even the scores.

Gala were on good form by now and, five minutes later, they scored an excellent try, one of the best at Netherdale for many a year.  

On their own 22 metres, Gala took possession through a quickly-taken penalty by Euan Dods, which went to Ruairi Howarth, playing at 10.  

He took off, accompanied by winger Fergus Johnston.  The ball was passed on four occasions by these two, avoiding Heriots tacklers.  

Johnston had the honour of completing this move by touching down. The try was remarkable to watch, as the speed of both players, their footwork,

passing and handling ability had the crowd roaring.  The try was converted by Ross Cooke to give Gala a 14-7 lead.

There was no addition to the scoring until just before half time, when the Gala prop Marius Tamosaitis picked up and, using his considerable strength, broke three tackles before passing to hooker Jack Easson, who continued the forward momentum before passing to Josh Irvine.

The Gala flanker, on being tackled, off-loaded to Ruairi Howarth, who sprinted to the line to score under the posts.  

Ross Cooke again converted to take the half-time score to 21-7 in Gala’s favour.

In the second half, there was much changing of possession for the first 15 minutes when, following a scrum on the Gala 22 metre line, Heriot’s Blues took possession and scrum half Graham Wilson passed to centre Louis Meynier to give him an easy score, which Wilson converted for 21-14.

Five minutes later, with a penalty taken from his own half, Ross Cooke found touch deep into Heriot’s Blues territory.  From the line, Gala forwards gathered possession and formed a maul, which rumbled toward the Heriot’s Blues line, before Euan Dods picked up and the ball went through hands before Ruairi Howarth received possession and crossed the line.  

This try was not converted but took the score to 26-14 and earned Gala a bonus point for four tries.

On 75 minutes, Gala were awarded a penalty inside the Heriot’s Blues 22 metre.  The sensible decision was made to kick for goal, with which Ross Cooke successfully complied, taking Gala to three scores ahead of Heriots Blues at 29-14.

The game was ended by Heriot’s fly half Dominic Martin gathering after a quick penalty and scoring in the corner.  Wilson converted with a fine kick from far out on touch to take the final score to 29-21.

This was the first of two successive encounters between these sides, as they meet again at Netherdale this Saturday in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup, kicking off at 3pm.