Gala put their supporters through the wringer for a second successive weekend as they fended off a strong-finishing Stirling County side to achieve a bonus-point win, writes Alan Lorimer.
Leading 23-16 with only minutes remaining of the match, Gala were forced to defend tenaciously as Stirling threw everything at them.
“These kind of finishes are not by choice,” said Gala coach, George Graham. “It was too close to call out there. If we had kicked our goals the margin would have been a lot bigger.”
The absence of six first-choice players opened the door for two teenagers, prop Gary Robertson and centre Keith Young, both of whom have come through the Gala youth system. In the event, Young made an impressive debut, particularly in defence, while Robertson posted a compelling case for inclusion in the Scotland under-20 squad.
After going behind to an early penalty goal by Jamie Urquhart, Gala hit back with a driving line-out that ended with flanker Steve Cairns claiming the points. David O’Hagan missed the conversion, but atoned with a penalty to give Gala a 8-3 interval lead.
The advantage was soon lost as Urquhart kicked a second penalty before triggering an attack that ended with centre Danny Gilmour touching down, with Urquhart converting.
But a mistake by County at the restart gave second row Chris Weir a simple try to level the scores. Prop Luke Pettie then grabbed two tries for Gala, either side of an Urquhart penalty, for a lead they held till the final whistle.