Table-topping Gala put up case for the defence

Grant Somerville brought down by big hairy guy !
Grant Somerville brought down by big hairy guy !



For a second successive weekend Hawick suffered at the hands of a fellow Borders club as Gala squeezed the creative life out of the Greens.

An impressive defensive display to achieve a five try win taking the Maroons to the top of the RBS Premiership table.

“We knew that the key to winning against Hawick was putting constant pressure on them and especially on Rory Hutton,” said Gala’s coach, George Graham, who was equally delighted with the display of his pack. “The forwards were outstanding” he said.

“I was disappointed with our display against Glasgow Hawks, so I was tough on the boys in the lead-up to the Hawick match.”

Among the top performers for Gala were 39-year old number 8 Tom Weir, who turned back the years to post an all round display, prop Ewan McQuillan, who made sure that Gala dominated the set scrum and flanker Gary Graham, key to Gala’s superiority in the contact area.

Behind the scrum veteran Andy McLean, playing at stand-off in the absence of the injured Dave O’Hagen, did everything asked of him.

“Andy never lets you down. We’ve played him at stand-off, scrum half, centre and full back. In short he’s a real stalwart,” enthused Graham.

If this was a confidence-lifting match for Gala then for Hawick it appeared a confidence-draining experience.

The Greens, in spite of some excellent individual contributions from the likes of Keith Davies, Neil Renwick and Bruce McNeill and an encouraging display from loan scrum half Jake Evens, seemed trapped by Gala’s defence, forcing the Greens to kick far too often when their trump card was always running rugby.

“We were flat in the first half. I think some of the boys may have been over-awed by the occasion, but we started to play in the second half and when we put structure into our game we scored a good try,” observed Hawick’s coach Phil Leck.

Hawick’s try scored by Neil Renwick and created by McNeill and Davies, was in reply to first half touchdowns from Grant Somerville, Opeta Palepoi and Graham Spiers that brought the scoreline to 22-13 in favour of Gala.

But a try by Tom Weir off the back of a scrum put Gala back in a commanding position.

Hawick then lost their mercurial stand-off Rory Hutton but even so the Greens came desperately close to scoring a second try. But in a counter attack Gala showed their handling skills giving Somerville his second try and Gala a sumptuous win.

Gala: G. Spiers; G. Somerville, C. Auld, E. Scott, G. Young; A. McLean, George Graham; R. Sutherland, R. Anderson, E. McQuillan, O. Palepoi, C. Borthwick, Gary Graham, S. Cairns, T. Weir. Subs used: C. Mackintosh, E. Dods, C. Weir, G. Mein, C. Russell.

Hawick: N. Renwick; S. Anderson, L. Armstrong, S. McLeod, N. McCombe; R. Hutton, J. Evens; S. Muir, L. Gibson, L. Launders, B. McNeill, R. McAlpine, N. Mactaggart, R. Scott, K. Davies. Subs used: H. Scammell, W. Blacklock, K. Willison, G. Anderson, A. Weir.