Gala fight back to consolidate league lead

Gala 29 Glasgow Hawks 14

Gala piled on 26 unanswered points to secure what was ultimately a comfortable try bonus point victory over Glasgow Hawks at Netherdale this afternoon and consolidate their position at the top of the RBS Premiership.

And yet if you’d predicted that outcome around the half hour mark of today’s contest, not even the most optimistic of home supporters would have thought it likely.

Visitors control early exchanges

Hawks, who had drawn the earlier match between the clubs 38-all at Old Anniesland in September, dominated the early forward exchanges and with their pack keen to recycle possession, it was the visitors who were in command.

Lock Andy Linton had surged over for the opening try and Hawks were held up on two occasions over the Gala line before Ross Miller’s dynamism on the scrum pick-up saw Hawks register their second try.  Scott Wight had converted both and all Gala had to show was a Ewan Scott penalty, which brought up his 100 points for the season, between the two tries.

Try brace for Scott

Scott, 23, who joined Gala from Jed-Forest, benefited from a scrum penalty to show some lovely balanced running as he claimed the Borderers’ first try. His own conversion narrowed the scores to 10-14.

Hawks then suffered through ill-discipline as Miller was yellow-carded and Gala were rewarded for their enterprise in first-half injury time as full-back Andy McLean broke to send Grant Somerville dashing in at the right corner for their second try. Scott’s conversion gave them an unlikely 17-14 interval lead.

On the restart a sustained Gala attack, with half-backs Grayson Hart and David O’Hagan orchestrating, set up openside flanker Scott Chapman for try number three.

Scott then weaved and stepped through the fractured Hawks defence for a fine individual second try, his conversion leaving him with a 19 point contribution to Gala’s victory.

Hawks did try to rally but Gala were effective in clearing their lines and playing the game in the right areas.

They now concentrate on the British & Irish Cup over the next fortnight before resuming RBS Premiership business on Saturday 21 December with a tasty trip to Mansfield Park to face their ancient foes Hawick.

Elsewhere in today’s RBS Premiership a last-gasp drop-goal enabled Currie to win a thriller 40-39 against Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place; Stirling County posted their first league win since September with a vital 14-10 margin against Aberdeen Grammar; Melrose took the honours in their derby against Hawick, 36-11; and Heriot’s completed the league double over Ayr with a 17-5 success at Millbrae.