Coach’s choice words put Gala in recovery position

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Aberdeen Grammar21

Gala made sure there was going to be no repeat of the Goldenacre disaster by overturning a strong Aberdeen lead at Netherdale.

A big second half performance did much to wipe away some early mistakes, and with their five tries the Maroons picked up another bonus point.

Gala’s injuries have been a bit of a concern in the last couple of weeks, and again on Saturday they saw Alan Emond (ankle) and Craig Keddie (shoulder) being replaced.

But outstanding was veteran Tom Weir, making his first start of the season for Gala and scoring the 90th try of his career.

Coach George Graham paid tribute to him: “It’s really great to have people of that quality that we can call upon.”

Graham called the side rusty in its early play but the team responded to what he called “a few choice words at half time”.

Certainly Gala’s overall play lacked the sharpness and precision that would have seen Aberdeen off much earlier, and some carelessness in the pack gave the visitors chances to pick up some useful points.

Another sprightly veteran was Opeta Palepoi, and there was a welcome appearance of Ewan McQuillan, turning in a robust all round showing. Emond and Chris Auld make a useful pairing in the centre, with the former both villain and hero within a couple of minutes.

Some of Gala’s tries were colourful enough affairs, but the first was a simple exercise in forward control. Craig Borthwick took a lineout ball, the pack followed in and Palepoi collected the try. A cooling-off period followed, with Aberdeen stand-off Graeme Clow putting over penalties in the 15th, 25th and 29th minutes.

Clow, who was enjoying his afternoon, snapped up Emond’s short pass and scorched in for a useful try which he also converted. Undaunted, Gala headed straight to the posts at the opposite end with Emond shaking off a couple of tackles for a try converted by David O’Hagan.

Gala were in a different mood when they turned round, and Palepoi did the initial hard work before Tom Weir scored, O’Hagan putting over a good conversion.

It was a deft bit of work by Weir that released George Graham and then Graham Speirs on the blind side for the latter to score, O’Hagan’s kick putting Gala into an even stronger position.

Then a favourite move at the lineout saw George Graham collect the throw-in without a hand being laid on him. He nipped in for a try, O’Hagan getting yet another conversion.

A late flurry by Aberdeen gave them a try for flanker Tony McGuinness, but even with the second half assistance of Glasgow Warrior Josh Strauss they ended a well beaten side.

Gala: A. McLean; G. Somerville, A. Emond, C. Auld, G. Speirs; D. O’Hagan, George Graham; R. Sutherland, R. Anderson, E. McQuillan, O. Palepoi, C. Borthwick, Gary Graham, S. Cairns, T. Weir. Subs: C. Macintosh, C. Keddie, C. Weir, E. Scott, L. Draycott.