Gala win at the Gytes, but Peebles retain 4th place
Paelmerked! but smiling through the pain!
Peebles 14 - Gala 18
Stuart Paton Reports from the Gytes
30 October 2010
Well this was it! D day for Peebles! an all or nothing game to secure a top 4 spot. Or so we all thought, in what was to prove to be a day of shocks, surprises, and further dreadful injury worries to The Pees fast depleting squad.
Already out with long term injuries were Davey P at no8, and Drew at scrum half. Drew being replaced by flanker Euan Jackson and Alan Warnock in for Dave Paton.
A huge crowd as expected, had gathered in anticipation, with Gala already having secured their top four place, and Peebles desperate to make it to join their Lowland Border counterparts.
Gala lined up with Alan Johnston, he of the unmentionable nickname in the front row, but a Gala stalwart for many a year.
The game kicked off to an untidy start, but within five minutes Galas Gav Young was fed by Emond, who sent over Roden for a score, and it was a very sweet move indeed. Luckily for Pees the conversion was missed by Lee Miller and Gala had secured a 5 nil lead.
Gala seemed to be much quicker than Peebles in the rucks and were also securing quicker ball from the breakdowns.
Peebles then conceded a penalty from 35 yards, which Lee Miller converted to make it 8 nil Gala, with Peebles looking a bit lethargic and somewhat shellshocked.
Willie Aitken then had a tremendous take from a Gala kick, but was bound up on the ground, when trying to release the ball, and Peebles were awarded a penalty which was converted by the immense Neil Warnock. 3 points clawed back!
Gala then began to take total control of the game for lengthy spells. Until, Peebles swept up the park to concede a scrum, during which the ref noticed Gala were not binding properly, and awarded Peebles a penalty which was kicked to touch. Peebles drove up from the lineout, and the ball was released to Clancy, but Peebles were then penalised for going over the top of the ruck.
Peebles then began getting back in the game, with Battler Borthwick driving up to set up a series of rucks, with Peebles pushing forward. Then Donald Anderson went on a mazy run resulting in Gala infringing again, and Peebles winning a penalty inside the 22. This was converted by Warnock to make it 6 - 8
Play then became pretty scrappy, with a lot of infringements by both sides, and as expected, in an all Borders tussle, a few wee handbags at dawn were thrown! Peebles then missed a penalty for Gala coming in at the side of a ruck, something in which Gala persisted in doing all day! Peebles won another penalty just before half time and Warnock converted for Peebles to take a 9-8 lead on half time, and it was game on for the second half.
From the Gala kick off in the second half, Peebles looked to have finally wakened from their slumbers. Then the game dipped again with some aerial ping pong, missed kicks to touch and general untidiness. Gala were awarded a penalty from 30 yards in front of the posts which missed! much to the relief of The Gytes Faithful.
Warnock then produced a fabulous kick to touch, and Peebles surged onwards from the lineout, in some fabulous rucking and driving play. Then, the ref blew the whistle up pretty sharply, as Borthwick was laid out at the bottom of a ruck, looking seriously hurt. Unfortunately for Borth he was stretchered off to an ambulance which had to be brought to the ground, and taken to hospital with a broken leg. It was a horrible incident, and the lengthy hold up of over half an hour unsettled both teams, The crowd became quite sombre.
When the game restarted, Peebles were determined to make ground inside the Gala 22. Adam Moffat replaced Borthwick, having made his return from overseas. Moff they must be awfy gid pies in Canada!! You could be in the front row next week!
Gala then produced a try under the posts, from Peebles conceding a penalty, and with the conversion kicked, Gala now had a 15- 9 lead. Top 4 for Peebles was looking so unlikely to be happening now. Then to make matters worse, a very strange decision was made by the referee, He awarded Gala a penalty, when a Galashiels player was clearly in an offside position, and interfering with play. This was converted to give Gala an 18 - 9 lead.
This seemed to gee Peebles up, and they swamped all over Gala in a series or mauls and rucks to take the ball up the park. Rhino got within 5 metres, to set up another ruck, and the ball came out to Strictly Dancing Donald who slipped over for a try. The conversion was missed, and Peebles were now only 14- 18 down, with Gala looking tired. Peebles then had a lot of sustained pressure, taking a series of scrums or kicks to touch, for the all too frequent Gala infringing. Unfortunately the game then faded into a scrappy affair up to the final whistle, and Peebles had lost. It looked like our efforts for a top four finish and the play offs had gone.
Then an announcement on the tannoy let us know Falkirk had just been humped by Kirkcaldy! Well done Falkirk, great result! In all seriousness, given the way Peebles had been playing and coping with a dreadful series of injuries, then justice has been done. We have the play offs to look forward to and can only hope for the best. At the time of writing, the play off dates and venues are as yet unannounced. Given our injuries the international break after the cup games may be welcome.
We can only wish Craig Borthwick well after that awful leg break, but it is unlikely we will be seeing Big Borth in a Peebles shirt for the remainder of the season. Very sad. However we have achieved what we set out to do, albeit with some costly injuries. Wishing Davey P, Drew and Borth speedy recoveries. Your town needs you!
Well done lads, and well done Gary and Gerry. We shall wait and see what is yet to come.
1 Willie Aitken 11 Martin Cruickshank
2 Ryan McConnell 12 Craig Borthwick
3 Adam Clark 13 Dale Clancy
4 David Harvey 14 Neil Hogarth
5 Andrew Brown 15 Donald Anderson
6 Shanon Temita 16 Matt Carryer
7 David Brown 17 Steven Irvine
8 Allan Warnock 18 Craig Hunter
9 Euan Jackson 19 Adam Moffat
10 Neil Warnock 20