Encouraging signs for four-up Maroons’ title bid

Touch down OP
Touch down OP

Gala 31

Currie 14

This was a solid performance from Gala, who threw caution to the wind late on to secure a bonus point in their opening RBS Premiership game.

Despite inevitable rustiness, the backs looked sharp when attacking, running the ball from deep several times.

Backs coach Scott Nichol assessed the Gala performance as seven out of 10, which was fair. The players themselves knew, despite winning the match easily, that there is plenty to address over the coming weeks, but the most impressive aspect was the way they played the game with bags of confidence.

A massive penalty from fly-half Joe Reynolds on five minutes gave the visitors the lead, but two minutes later new Gala captain George Graham took a quick penalty and caused havoc. Support play was exceptional and after two years of failing to score playing at centre, Craig Borthwick, who has taken to his second row switch like a duck to water, touched down for his first try for the club.

Lee Millar’s replacement at number 10, David O’Hagan, has been showing impressive fitness and communication skills and his competitive debut suggested he could be a permanent fixture in the team. He landed a penalty before Opeta Palepoi charged over to stretch the lead to 10 points. Two further Joe Reynolds penalties were cancelled out by O’Hagan before Luke Pettie was stretchered off with a leg injury.

There were feisty moments, with an all-out punch-up involving Gary Graham and Currie’s Michael Vernal – later to be yellow carded for over-use of the boot – and when the dust had settled Graham was told to cool off for a 10-minute period. Ethan Pollock also saw yellow in the second half for a professional foul.

The try of the match came when Grant Somerville received the ball just outside his own 22 and got past his opposite number, before perfect timing saw him give the ball to Graeme Speirs ,who set up Alan Emond for the run-in. O’Hagan converted and his side had just over 12 minutes to get the bonus point.

And it was Somerville who grabbed the fourth try five minutes into stoppage time.

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Gala: L. Draycott, G. Somerville, C. Auld, A. Emond, C. Robertson, D. O’Hagan, George Graham; L. Pettie, R. Anderson, R. Sutherland, C. Borthwick, O. Palepoi, Gary Graham, B. Murray, E. Dods. Subs: C. MacKintosh, C. Keddie, S. Cairns, A. McLean, G. Speirs.