Peebles 12, Gala 40
The scoreline didn’t really reflect the flowing, end to end nature of this Friday night Bookers Border League game at The Gytes.
But the gap between the BT National League 2 hosts and their (until recently) BT Premiership opposition was possibly bound to tell in the end.
However, either Gala’s much-changed squad didn’t quite gel at first, or Peebles were really, up for it – but the home side came flying out of the blocks on a showery night and didn’t give Gala a chance to settle for most of the first quarter.
Almost a full first five minutes of Peebles possession ended in winger Stoddart crossing for an unconverted try to give them the lead.
After half an hour, Gala eventually got on the scoreboard with a Lewis Berg try, which he was unable to convert.
More Peebles possession but little territory gain ended with a knock-on at the Gala 22m line. There was a Gala scrum, then a Gala penalty plus 10m for chat. Eventually, Gala worked their way up to the Peebles 22, thanks to penalties and line-outs, and Gregor Mein broke through for a try, converted by Berg for 5-12.
In the second half, Peebles were camped in Gala’s 22 and multiple phases of play, on either side of a couple of scrums, put Johnstone through for a try, converted by Raeburn, to tie the scores.
Much of the Peebles resistance evaporated after this, however, as Gala increased their tempo and start cutting loose.
A Stevie Cairns break ended with George Lott try, converted by Berg, while Chris Weir grabbed the bonus-point try on the hour, also converted by Berg, to put the Netherdale men 12-26 in front.
A further Gala attack saw John Watson go over for a try, with Berg successful again with the extras, amid heavy rain.
Peebles kept possession for a while and managed an advance into the Gala 22 but Rob Louw made an interception moments later on his own 10m line and galloped onwards to score a try. With two minutes remaining, Berg concluded the scoring with the conversion at 12-40.
Gala are now awaiting the outcome of the remaining Pool A fixture – unless Hawick beat Selkirk by more than 17 clear points, Gala will be in the Border League Final against Melrose.
Peebles: William Napier, Ryan Stewart, Corey Togia, Roddy Guiney, Callum Leckey, Liam Daly, Euan Jackson, Euan Jackson (two with same name), Murray Johnstone, Greg Raeburn, Scott Stoddart, Callum Anderson, Murray Brown, James May, Steven Hamilton, William Aitken, Ryan McConnell, Ruairidh Britton, Jack Harrison, Chris Shand, Gavin Hume, Andy Muir.
Gala: Curtis Reynolds, Ritchie Tod, Terry Skeet, Chris Weir, Rob Louw, Harry Borthwick, Fraser Hunter, Stevie Cairns, George Lott, Gregor Mein, Dwayne Burrows, Paul Hendry, Lewis Berg, Craig Robertson,Graham Speirs ©, Declan Broatch, Lewis Roden, John Watson, Robbie Irvine, John Turnbull, Ross Combe, Simon Fairbairn.