Graham frustrated as Gala miss chance

Gala 17

Currie 6


LAING SPEIRS reports from Netherdale

GALA’S scoring momentum has dropped away in the last few weeks, but on Saturday they had the excuse of playing half a match with uncontested scrums.

They managed two tries, only one of them from open play, but it was a poor return from a match which had seen the home pack in such impressive form early on.

Supporters had cleared the pitch of snow, but the soft conditions led to a spate of handling errors which irritated coach George Graham. He accepted the need for uncontested scrums, a run of injuries seeing the Currie front row short of experienced men, but was much less tolerant of Gala’s run of mistakes.

Looking at the line-out, he felt that it had been a problem all season.

He told TheSouthern: “A few went awry, but that’s work in progress. We’re trying to rectify it.”

The home threequarter line was imaginative early on, and the loose forwards linked well. Currie, who had former Maroon Gregor Hunter at stand-off, were a bit laboured up front, but gradually they were overcome.

An early penalty by Currie’s Jamie Forbes was quickly forgotten about as Gala played some enterprising rugby.

The first try, from Grant Somerville, owed much to Opeta Palepoi and Ewan Dods, and Lee Millar converted from the far right.

It was clear that Gala’s forward strength was going to influence the game, and Currie had a hard time of it on their own line.

After conceding a few penalties they eventually went too far and a penalty try gave Millar the easiest of conversions.

Gala had a bit of luck when a perfectly-placed Hunter cross-kick was dropped on the line, but Forbes put over a penalty goal before the turnaround.

With the scrums now just a formality, the second half produced a good deal of frustration, but also a fine demonstration of Gala tackling.

It took until the last minute for another score to arrive, a Millar penalty. It was much too late for Gala even to consider going for the couple of tries which would have given them a valuable bonus point.

Gala: A. McLean; G. Somerville, C. Auld, B. Turner, C. Robertson; L. Millar, George Graham; L Pettie, C. Mackintosh, E. McQuillin, C. Weir, O. Palepoi, C. Keddie, Gary Graham, E. Dods. Subs: S. Cairns, G. Young, R. Anderson, T. Weir, D. Owenson.