Stirling County 10
PREMIER DIVISION ONE
LAING SPEIRS reports from Netherdale
WITH their highest ever score against Stirling and, more importantly, one of their best showings of the season, Gala’s impressive run in Division One continued.
They survived a score against them with the game only a couple of minutes old, before going on to chalk up a bonus point and build up the tempo towards the November 5 date with Melrose.
The game was a close contest for only the first quarter, with Gala’s Lee Millar providing the foundation for the win with his three first-half penalty goals. His 19 points for the game were the cushion for Gala, but their four tries showed that the team is able to rely on more than just the stand-off’s boot.
Miller had an important hand in two of the tries, and had another successful day in partnership with scrumhalf George Graham.
There was an exciting sense of purpose about the home backs, and both Craig Robertson and Shaun Law on the wings had chances to stretch their legs.
But it was up front that Gala took charge. Coach George Graham had been experimenting with new line-out tactics, and was delighted with the overall result. A slight query over Gala’s play at the breakdown area was his only concern, but he was well satisfied with the team’s performance and position in the league.
The back row had a lively afternoon, although two of the players had to endure yellow card banishment.
But Stirling could not manage a single point during the 20 minutes when Gala were shorthanded.
With this result, Gala retained possession of the new Bill McLaren shield – an additional bonus on an afternoon when things went very well indeed for them.
And yet the first minutes suggested otherwise.
Stirling scored through hooker Alex Moffat from the first line-out, Brian Archibald converting. The same kicker added a penalty after 17 minutes, but by that time Gala were on their way, with Millar getting his first two penalty goals.
His third success was followed by Russell Anderson’s first score for Gala, following some quick transfer of ball through Millar and the half ended with a long run by Robertson.
Millar added two penalties as Gala continued to control the game, Alan Emond, who was enjoying some colourful running, scored far out with Millar converting, and then Robertson added a third on the left wing to sew up the result.
The only thing left to do was to secure the bonus point and this captain Opeta Palepoi made sure of as the forwards again drove hard for the line.
Millar converted and Gala headed for the dressing room, not too worried about the few blemishes in their game, including the yellow cards to Euan Dods and Gary Lowrie.
Gala : B. Turner; S. Law, C. Auld, A. Emond, C. Robertson; L. Millar, George Graham; L. Bertram, R. Anderson, E.McQuillin, C. Weir, O. Palepoi, G. Lowrie, Gary Graham, E. Dods. Subs P. Stewart, C. Keddie, D. Marshall, A. McLean, C. Borthwick.