2005/2006: Scottish Premiership Two



S. D’Agrosa15A. Rushforth
S. Craig14R. Watson
C. Dalgleish13R. West
G. Dalgleish12G. Fisher
C. Lawson11
A. McLean10M. Dunn
M. Miller9
J. McEntee1
Mi. Christie2
E. Johnstone3
C. Weir4
M. Horsburgh5G. Harkness
T. Miskelly6
G. Bryce7
T. Weir8
Ma. Christie16
L. Roden17
S. Nichol18
G. Brown19
C. Dalgleish, Johnstone, Lawson, T. WeirTryDunn, Fisher
McLean (2)ConDunn
McLean (2)PenDunn


The Gala pack, having on the last three encounters battled manfully without any great return, put together an 80 minutes on Saturday that forwards coach Dave Cockburn was quick to praise.

“The pack displayed a more confident line-out performance and some very competent scrummaging, which laid the platform for the winning result.” he said.

The forwards’ performance was assisted especially in the second half with some fine tactical kicking by Andy McLean, Scott Nichol and Gavin Dalgliesh; which allowed the forwards to remain on the front foot.

In the opening minute of this encounter the Gala faithful would perhaps have thought “here we go again” when the ball from the GHA kick off, being received by Gala well into their own half, decided to open out, only to be destroyed by the GHA central defence. The lesson was learned and McLean, through the boot sent Gala well into the visitors’ half where they gained a penalty from an off-side offence which presented McLean with a relatively easy kick which he regrettably sent wide of the post.

The first infringement at a scrum was after six minutes which gave encouraging signs even as early as this, that even against what looked a very sturdy pack the young Gala pack looked comfortable with James McEadie and Ewan Johnstone anchoring the eight.

The first Gala score arrived after a well driven forward play, which was to be a feature of Gala’s play all afternoon. In this instance Mike Christie led the drive, leaving available possession for young Malcolm Miller to release his backs with McLean’s slight of hand to Simon D’Agrosa who unselfishly released a well timed pass to Chris Lawson to touch down int he corner. Teh try was unconverted by McLean.

Pressure was released by good line-out work from Malcolm Horsburgh and resulting in a great kick by Gavin Dalgleish, but from the line-out GHA received possession and full-back Rushforth made a fair amount of metres into Gala territory assisted by a limited amount of commitment to the tackle by the Gala players. GHA came very much into the game with some fine running espeically from stand-off Martin Dunn which allowed some strong angle running from Ross West and Graeme Fisher in the centre.

From a free kick GHA set an attack on the Gala line and as a result of some weak tackling Dunn ran in for a try, which he converted to take GHA into a two point lead at the end of the first quarter.

Gala then through good forward lay built-up a great rolling maul which was to finish with a penalty against Gala that only the referee would appear to see the infringement for. This allowed GHA to clear their lines. From the attacking position Gala found themselves after some wayward passes back in their 22 and from a line out GHA spread the ball to Fisher tohit the gap and score an unconverted try and put the visitors 12-5 in the lead with 21 minutes played.

McLean brought Gala within four points fo the visitors, after taking a quick penalty and was brought down. He was awarded another penalty, which he had no trouble converting.

Gala’s scrummage in the second quarter was beginning to control the set-piece and winning the re-scrummage on two occasions. Good driving play by Johnstone, Tom Weir and young Miller took the play up to the GHA 22.

Gala, after a great drive by Chris Weir, GHA infringed and Gala was awarded a penalty which McLean chose to kick for the corner, a decision that proved profitable. A great line out take by Tom Weir allowed the Gala pack to display their improved skill in the driving maul and Johnstone emerged as the try scorer to reinstate the Gala lead 13-12; to be increased by an outstanding conversion by McLean from the touchline. That took McLean’s points tally for the club to 503 and the match to 15-12 at half-time.

The second half got underway with a good passage of GHA interhandling which saw them into Gala’s 22 but some good ground work by Horsburgh regained possession to clear the 22. Gala’s scrumming was causing GHA problems and allowing McLean time to clear Gala’s lines.

However, from one good driving scrum, the referee judged Malcolm Miller who was causing the visitors problems at the base, offside and Dunn slotted the penalty to level the score at 15-all.

Early in the second half Scott Nichol replaced D’Agrosa and Johnstone was replaced by Martin Christie. Johnstone did not remain on the bench long as he was recalled after McEntee who had performed well throughout damaged a shoulder.

Some good driving forward play again asserted Gala’s position against a GHA pack which themselves were not short of ballast. At the stroke of the final quarter the first yellow card when Dunn was sin binned for a high tackle and McLean. After further good work by Miller and a good draw by Chris Weir well into GHA territory Gala were awarded a penalty, which McLean goaled to make it 18-15. George Brown then replaced Malcolm Miller.

A feature of the game at this point was the line kicking of both Nichol and Gavin Dalgleish that allowed the forwards to remain on the front foot and good runs by first Chris Weir from a GHA lineout over throw followed by a great break by Tom Weir carried on by Lewis Roden who had replaced Christie a hooker with Christie moving to win froward to replace Jim Miskelly.

The breakaway by the forwards set up a great scoring chance with Chris Dalgleish set in flight, but regrettably for Gala did not utilise the two man overlap and was caught in possession. Within two minutes the centre was allowed to put things right with a try in the corner; the conversion went wide, but Gala were 23-15 ahead.

From the restart some good work by the forwards with the ever present Graeme Bryce leading the charge allowed Nichol to kick Gala well into the opposition half. At this stage Dunn returned to the frae for GHA.

With some minutes of real tiem remaining Gala stole an oppositin line-out ball but infringed; immediately turning over the opposition scrum just short of the GHA line. From the regained scrum, Gala drove and Tom Weir picked up from the base to score and with a McLean conversion took the score to 30-15.

With a rearranged back division; with McLean going off with seven minutes remaining Gala defended well to stop GHA adding to their tally. The score of 30-15 gave Gala a very well earned victory and a very valuable bonus point.

Source: The Border Telegraph, Wednesday 5th October 2005

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