Gala are in the clear 
after late Dods bonus

Alan Emond for Gala runs in a try in the second half against Boroughmuir.
Alan Emond for Gala runs in a try in the second half against Boroughmuir.



Gala are beginning to make a bit of a feature of scoring late on to seal off a win, but the target on Saturday was not so much victory, which was virtually secured by the interval, but a critical bonus point.

And it took until the last move of the game before they collected their fourth try and a place on their own at the top of the Premiership.

On the upside, coach George Graham was a bit more cheerful than in recent weeks.

“When we put it together we are a very dangerous side,” he told The Southern.

Our defence was fantastic with some really big hits going in, and I think our fitness is above where they are.”

Overall, Gala had a lot to be pleased about. Injury hit as they are, it was a time for the younger brigade to step up.

And with a mature and confident showing from Ruairi Howarth, some sturdy tackling by Keith Young, a robust effort from prop Gary Robertson, and a consistent delivery from Josh Irvine in a lively back row, there were all the signs that the Gala production line is running in top gear.

Sean Johnstone, who played in the Peebles game in August and had a replacement appearance in last year’s British and Irish Cup, took on the job that Opeta Palepoi had to miss out on, with a late back problem. He looks very much one to watch as he matures.

Gala’s defence stood up well to a wave of Boroughmuir pressure which never looked like making a major impact. They had two released professional players to Gala’s one, but the man in the Maroon jersey, Brett Thompson, looked the more likely figure, even though he had more work to do in defence than attack. But on his few surges he showed his pace and strength.

The game had long periods when stagnation set in. The first 20 minutes verged on the tedious, with two penalty goals to Greg Cannie and one to Howarth the only moments of interest.

But when Ewan Dods, a non-stop performer, released George Graham for the first try, converted by Howarth, the game livened up.

Brother Gary Graham battled his way over for the second try, Howarth again on song and kicking another penalty for an interval lead of 20-6.

Alan Emond stepped inside the defence for the next try, Howarth converting, but then a run of injuries took the momentum out of the game.

It took two penalty kicks to the corner to set up the final line-out and Ewan Dods was never going to miss the chance of a try far out ... a vital score, but only just in time.