Gala pay the penalty as Hawks take easy pickings

Gary Graham charges through the Melrose defence
Gary Graham charges through the Melrose defence

Glasgow Hawks16


Gala’s recent dip in form continued on Saturday when George Graham’s men suffered a last-gasp defeat at the hands of Glasgow Hawks at Anniesland.

Once again the visiting pack appeared to struggle in the front row, resulting in penalties aplenty for their hosts to build a winning platform.

Indeed Hawks scored first through a Jack Steele penalty in the seventh minute before David O’Hagan slotted a similar effort to level the scores.

Almost immediately, however, the Maroons conceded another penalty for crossing and allowing the home side to kick to the corner. Solid defence saved the day on that particular occasion, but even when Gala made it to the home 22 their penchant for penalties allowed their opponents to clear.

With the pattern of the game set, another exchange of penalties brought the scoreline to 6-6 and that is where it stayed for half-time.

Some good running play from Gala on 35 minutes showed promise to earn a scrum, only to concede another penalty to the bigger pack in, what turned out to be, a sign of things to come.

After a good spell of early pressure in the second period, Gala’s misery was added to when influential utility forward Gary Graham, who has just returned from injury, was in the firing line once again and had to be replaced on 48 minutes.

Nevertheless, the visiting Maroons continued their assault on the Hawks line and were eventually rewarded when a penalty to the corner resulted in a forward drive to the line, with Fraser McKenzie going over for the game’s first try. O’Hagen made the conversion to put his side seven points in front.

But any relief was short-lived and just five minutes later Hawks had closed the gap to four when Steele kicked his third successful penalty goal.

It was now the turn of the hosts to exert the pressure as time began to run out, but Gala managed to hold their own. A chance to restore their seven-point lead through a penalty was missed and, while pressing for another chance in the Hawks 22, the ball went loose, allowing the hosts a final chance to shine.

Having worked their way into the Gala 22, Hawks were awarded a scrum and after numerous resets for penalty infringements, the referee lost patience and awarded Glasgow a penalty try which Steele converted to take the win at the final whistle.