Maroons hold firm to beat their toughest opposition yet

Gala 16

Dundee HSFP 9


LAING SPEIRS reports from Netherdale

THE Gala coaches felt that this was a match well won against the hardest team they have yet met.

It may have produced only one try for the Maroons, but that came at the right time to settle the side – and as the result of an increased tempo which lifted the game from the heavy grind of the first hour.

The Gala forwards took a lot of credit for the win, their fifth in the opening six games, and their first victory over Dundee for seven years.

The scrum looked good for much of the game, and subs Russell Anderson, Gary Lowrie and Edinburgh prop Jack Gilding were exactly the back-up needed to provide fresh inpetus at a critical time.

Gala’s backs were never able to make a lot of impression, but their defence was of the best quality, and some serious tackling came from the likes of Alan Emond and Chris Auld.

Neither Craig Robertson nor Shaun Law were able to get free, although the former linked well with full back Bryce Turner in a first-half move that showed enterprise with a quick throw-in.

The first six scores were all penalty goals, perhaps not the ideal mix to set up the excitement, but the way in which Gala hauled themselves back after going 3-9 down showed that the team had the right attitude to maintain their winning run.

Offside was mainly Gala’s undoing, with two of Jack Steele’s kicks for Dundee coming from infringements around the 22m line. But once Lee Millar got his eye in and levelled the score at 9-9 after the first hour, Gala settled into a more reliable game.

The substitute forwards fitted in well, and Andy McLean’s steadiness in the later stages won the Netherdale outfit lots of ground. Lee Millar’s successful day with the boot took him past the 50 points this early in the season, and Chris Weir’s try – the only one on offer – was his 18th for the club.

Gala had entertained their pensioners to lunch, but the match initially lacked some of the clubhouse cheer early on.

Penalties to Steele and Millar were the only dishes on offer and just on the break the Taysiders’ centre put his side ahead with a second helping.

While the on-field struggle continued the spectators were treated to Steele’s third penalty and two from Millar before the pensioners, and the rest of the healthy crowd, were livened up with a massive effort by the Gala forwards.

With a handily-placed line-out going their way, the pack took the ball forward with one end in view, and Weir was credited with the score. Millar converted to put Gala in the lead for the first time.

Gala: B. Turner; S. Law, C. Auld, A. Emond, C. Robertson; L. Millar, George Graham; L. Bertram, L. Roden, E.McQuillin, C. Weir, O. Palepoi, D. Marshall, Gary Graham, E. Dods. Subs: J. Gilding, R. Anderson, G. Lowrie, A. McLean, C. Borthwick.