Gala v Hawick BT Premiership
By Duncan Scott
Second of many encounters this season
Home League debut for our new players who all acquitted themselves in a team bonding well. A firm dry pitch for a fast moving game (though seemingly not good for the blisters!).
A game remembered by the actions of the match officials as much as the teams with five yellow cards handed out for reasons which the match video will surely make clear.
Hawick kick off, Gala field and clear to touch. From lineout Hawick then retain the ball for fully three minutes until they knock-on, and though Gala win the scrum they end up in touch for another Hawick lineout, which is messy but Hawick get the ball and retain through phases until coughing up a penalty which Gala clear to touch on their 10m line. Lineout not straight gives Hawick the scrum and the ball back then a penalty at ruck for a shot at goal.
8 minutes played and not out of the Gala ½, and with the help of the post Armstrong kicks the penalty for 0-3
The restart rolls into touch for a lineout at which Hawick knock-on for scrum Gala who in turn knock-on once into the Hawick ½ letting Hawick clear their lines. Ball kicked too far leading to Gala drop-out which is charged down allowing Hawick to maintain their pressure in the Gala ½.
15 minutes played and Gala finally hold onto the ball for a number of phases, and with first O’Hagan then Graham making breaks Gala are up to the Hawick 22 and win a penalty midfield in front of the posts. Not O’Hagan’s best day with the boot unfortunately though and attempt missed. Remains 0-3
Untidy spell as Hawick dropout, steal the ball back, then Gala steal in turn but knock-on, Hawick run advantage then kick ahead which Gala then return for Hawick to call mark and then drop the ball – scrum Gala mid Hawick 22. Gala scrum, ruck x 4 and win penalty with Referee Grove-White having a chat with Hawick captain McNeil. O’Hagan successful this time on 23 minutes, 3-3
Resolute Gala defence with Hawick throwing their all at the Gala line, but on the half hour O’Hagan reads the play and intercepts on ½ way and runs in unopposed then converts his own try for 10-3
The remainder of the half is predominantly played in the Hawick ½ in typical Border Derby rumbustiousness. Just before half time though the Referee plays his first 2 cards with yellow shown to Borthwick and Hawick 17 Blacklock.
Half time 10-3
Gala kick off for the 2nd half and Hawick keep hold of the ball until after 2 minutes Davis breaks the defensive line for a try under the posts, converted by 15 Armstrong 10-10
Play between the two 22s is the order of the day for most of this half. 7+ minutes played and the Hawick 4 Charters is shown yellow, and then to uncontested scrums until Blacklock returns from sin-bin.
Some good breaks from both sets of backs keeps pressure up with play back and forth and back again.
21 minutes in and a mistimed tackle from Howarth on a Hawick player already ducking, leads to a penalty for the high tackle and a yellow and a few ‘pleasantries’ exchanged again. With hour mark reached, Cairns and Young replace Scott and Emond.
With Hawick having cleared to touch from the penalty, they win the lineout and maul then are penalised. Gala tap and go enabling first O’Hagan then Jeffrey to break with move ending in a lovely offload to Burrows for his debut try on his debut. O’Hagan misses conversion but 34 played and 15-10
OP replacing Rowlandson and Dods replacing Spiers then Todd replacing Carryer sees the bench emptied. No further scores but plenty nail biting moments for both sets of supporters. Another missed penalty from the unfortunate O’Hagan. Grove-White played his fifth yellow by dispatching Todd for a disputed ‘spear’ tackle allegedly spotted by the RA. With nearly seven minutes of stoppage time played, Hawick kept the pressure on going for the win, but to no avail and with Gala holding them up in a maul the final whistle was blown for a 15-10 victory.
Gala Team 1 to 15Luke Pettie
, Matt Carryer, Chris Keen
, Craig Borthwick, Callum Rowlandson
, Chris Weir
(Capt), Liam Scott
, Kris Mein, George Graham, David O’Hagan, Dwayne Burrows, Alan Emond
, Rex Jeffrey
, Graham Speirs
, Ruairi Howarth
Subs all used - Richie Tod, Opeta Palepoi
, Stevie Cairns, Craig Dods
, Keith Young