Gala put in a convincing 32-13 victory over Border rivals Hawick today at Netherdale, and in the process moved to the top of the RBS Premiership.
In the first half it was very much a one sided affair as the Maroons dominated throughout the park, with tries coming from winger Grant Sommerville, lock Opeta Palepoi and full-back Graeme Speirs.
The second half was slightly more evenly balanced, with Hawick showing a little more threat in attack. This did result in a try from full-back Neil Renwick three minutes into the half, but Gala’s efforts in the first half were bolstered with a further two tries from Sommerville and back rower, Tom Weir.
Gala captain, Gary Graham, said: “Today’s game was a lot better than last week. We knew we had to improve and come out on top today. We’ve done that and got the try bonus point, which is even better.
“When we were getting clean ball we felt we could attack from any where. We were also getting a lot of line-breaks and we managed to keep the intensity up to ensure the win.
“Every game in this league is massive, but you know when you play the likes of Hawick or Melrose you need that extra five or ten percent to ensure you win.”
Gala were on the board early with a penalty from the boot of centre Ewan Scott, followed by a try from Sommerville in the corner on 10 minutes. 8-0
Palepoi then added to the score seven minutes later. He won the ball in a line-out in Hawick’s 22 and before the crowd knew it he was in under the posts. Scott converted. 15-0
Hawick’s first points of the afternoon came just shy of the half-hour mark when Renwick struck a long kick at goal. Two minutes later Gala prop Rory Sutherland was sin-binned and Renwick added another three points. 15-6
With four minutes left before half-time, Speirs ran in a try for the hosts, which was in-turn converted by Scott. 22-6
Half-time: Gala 22-6 Hawick
Hawick came out all guns blazing in the second half. Their hard work paid off when Renwick ran in a try after some lovely work through the hands from the visitors back line. He converted his own score. 22-13
Gala however, didn’t let the scores stay close for long, back-rower Tom Weir scored their third try of the match five minutes later.
It wasn’t then until 77 minutes of play had past that, Sommerville, who was definitely a contender for man-of-the-match, got his second score. After a nice pop from centre Chris Auld, the flying-winger touched down with a swan dive and a giant roar from the Netherdale stand.
Full-time: Gala 32-13 Hawick
Elsewhere in the RBS Premiership today there were victories for Ayr (25-19 v Aberdeen Grammar), Heriot’s (39-15 v Currie), Stirling County (23-30 v Glasgow Hawks) and Edinburgh Accies (29-21 v Melrose).
Gala team: Graeme Speirs; Gavin Young, Chris Auld, Ewan Scott, Grant Somerville; Andy McLean, George Graham (captain); Rory Sutherland, Russell Anderson, Ewan McQuillin, Craig Borthwick, Opeta Palepoi, Gary Graham, Steven Cairns and Tom Weir.
Replacements: Callum MacIntosh, Euan Dods, Chris Weir, Gregor Mein and Craig Russell
Hawick team: Neil Renwick; Steven Anderson, Scott McLeod, Lee Armstrong, Greg Anderson; Rory Hutton, Jake Evans; Shawn Muir, Lindsey Gibson, Liam Launders, Bruce McNeill, Rob McAlpine, Nick MacTaggart, Rory Scott and Keith Davies (captain).
Replacements: Matthew Landels, Wullie Blacklock, Kieran Willison, Neil McCombe and Ali Weir.
Referee: Rob Dickson