2006/2007: Scottish Premiership Two



G. Frater15M. Dunn
S. Law14R. Watson
M. Playfair13A. Rushforth
G. Dalgleish12A. Bulloch
R. Livingston11R. McClymont
A. McLean10J. Noonan
M. Miller9A. Boag
Ma. Christie1J. Welsh
 P. MacDonald2D. Ziolo
 E. Johnstone3A. Kelly
C. Weir4G. Williamson
A. Ballantyne5A. Williamson
G. Bryce6G. Harkness
B. Murray7A. Rennick
T. Weir8S. Kearns
D. Marshall16J. Coffey
M. Kibble17A. Baldioli
Mi. Christie18L. Hazelton
G. Brown19
Bryce, Livingston, T. WeirTryBoag (2)
McLean (2)Con
McLean (2)PenNoonan


The surge of belief in themselves which nearly took Gala through in the cup against Biggar was even stronger when they saw off promotion seeking GHA at Netherdale.

With the atmosphere already highly charged through the Gala Star reunion and a big gathering of sponsors’ guests, it was up to Gala not to spoil the party………….. and for only a brief period in the second half did they lose control of a game which built up to an exciting climax.

Early on in the match – vital to each side – it had looked as though the GHA concentration on driving mauls was going to drive those spectators who had left the hospitality lounges back into them.

Fortunately the game came alive, and the longer it went on the better it became. Gala were the more imaginative and enterprising, but enough was seen from the Glasgow men to show that they had it in them to play some exciting rugby, even if it did take more than 20 minutes before their wingers got more than a single pass.

Gala coach Paul Di Rollo paid tribute to his entire team, but when pressed picked out Gavin Dalgleigh for his initiative, and Graeme Bryce, just back from a long injury spell for his contribution up front. Tom Weir had his best game for some weeks and with young Ben Murray at his elbow, made lots of incursions to set up good ball for Gala. But the ball carrying Martin Christie, and the power play of David Marshall showed the emerging abilities of the young Gala forwards.

Gala were missing regulars such as Lee Kibble, on representative duty this week, Chris Lawson; with a bad back and Roddy Grant, away with the Reivers. Gareth Brown was due to turn out for a reserve team after his brief suspension, as was Gustavo Morandi. All the replacements were well up to the standards that the coach has set for his young team who were facing a side carrying three former professionals.

After a succession of driving mauls set up by GHA, the first signs of rugby emerged with Gala’s opening assaults down the left wing, Ross Livingston coming near after Tom Weir had opened up the defence.

An Andy McLean penalty opened the scoring after eight minutes, but Gala lost Tom Weir to a yellow card shortly afterwards. Much as at Biggar, the shorthanded pack picked up their game and became a lot more vigorous. Marc Playfair came near with a long range penalty, but it was McLean who edged Gala further ahead with his second penalty in an incident which also included the dispatch of Andy Williamson to the game’s second yellow card.

Next to go was Paul MacDonald for 10 minutes, Jim Noonan kicking a penalty to produce a 6-3 interval scoreline. A first half that had not been particularly exciting faded from the memory when the second half scores started coming in.

Gala had just reshuffled their pack, but no defensive shape had yet emerged when Andy Boag was left unchallenged as he scuttled in from 15 metres out on the blindside of an untidy forward set to.

Nettled at losing their lead Gala’s Playfair, Dalgleish and Malcolm Miller combined down the right hand side, a penalty leading to a lineout at the corner. A clean take and drive saw Bryce collect a deserved try. Within five minutes GHA were back in front, another lineout take and drive freeing the ball for scrum half Boag to collect his second try.

The game was at it’s livilest with a score of 11-13 against Gala, but Martin Christie broke out well, combining with McLean to set up the next try. Crisp handling going left saw Livingston collect his sixth try of the season, McLean converting.

With injury time upon them, Gala were not going to be denied again and a try saving tackle by McLean snuffed out GHA’s last attack. With the Gala forwards driving well Tom Weir picked up and scored in the last minute, McLean converting. The second half with only five penalties awarded, made up for the shortcomings of the opening period, and launched the Netherdale evening’s entertainment in style.

Source: The Borders Telegraph, Wednesday 31st January 2007

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