COACH George Graham concentrated on the Gala forwards in his match build-up and they responded with a four-try performance which earned them a vital bonus point, writes Laing Speirs.
The conditions were bad enough to bring up the summer rugby arguments again, but the Maroons’ control and commitment up front gave them such an edge that the traditionalists could claim they won the day.
By half-time it was clear that the Gala pack, especially the front row, were in dominant form. Graham singled out Rory Sutherland, calling him one of the fastest props in Scotland, with a big future ahead of him.
“We were never really threatened, and we controlled the game,” he told The Southern. “But it was disappointing to cough up that try right at the end as it might all go down to points difference.”
Gerald Sibanda had a couple of very impressive runs, David O’Hagan brought some authority to the line kicking, and Andy McLean made a highly competent job of fielding and clearing in the worst of conditions.
Ewan Scott’s early penalty came from an Accies offside offence, Alex Blair equalising within five minutes, but Scott put over his second penalty midway through the period.
A penalty kick to the corner produced the first try, Sutherland getting the credit as the pack went over.
After another Blair penalty, tries by back row men Stevie Cairns and Ewan Dods – the second converted by O’Hagan – saw Gala on their way.
Palepoi completed the mission with a touchdown, again converted by O’Hagan, while Accies had a late scamper and chase for a runaway try by Chris Dean, converted by Blair.