Gala 24

Stewarts Melville 31

David Morrison

at Netherdale

MAROONS supporters had the wind knocked out of them on Saturday as Stewarts Melville staged a remarkable recovery.

Gala had raced into a commanding 24 points lead against the wind.

But the city team blew the hosts away with a remarkable fightback to claim the points.

Strong gusts swept across the Netherdale pitch for the entire 80 minutes.

Despite playing into the wind Gala raced into a 5-0 lead after Alan Emond broke from his own half to send Craig Russell over for the opening try.

Stew-Mel had forced Gala back for lengthy periods before the try.

And again, following the opening score, the visitors enjoyed sustained pressure before being hit with another sucker punch.

Another deep break was finished well by Dean Keddie.

His conversion gave Gala a 12-0 lead.

David Stoddart's yellow card was a further set back for Stew-Mel.

And Gala took full advantage with a penalty to the corner which eventually led to Russell barging his way over.

With half time approaching Graham Spiers darted through a space to send Russell in for this third try of the match.

Keddie's conversion on 37 minutes made it 24-0.

But the visitors managed to get onto the scoreboard just before the half time whistle.

A series of penalties led to the big pack pushing their hosts back with Adam Howie breaking from the rear to score.

With the wind at their backs for the second half, hopes were high Gala could build on their bonus point fourth try.

But Stew-Mel had different ideas with their pack controlling play for phase after phase.

Ruaridh Mitchell reduced the deficit with a try after a series of drives, which was converted by Euan Morrison.

Further forwards pressure led to Angus Wallace crashing over.

And with Morrison's conversion the lead was just 24-19.

Martin Christie's yellow card presented Stew-Mel with the opportunity to overhaul Gala.

And they took it in the 71st minute with Wallace again barging over the whitewash.

Morrison added the extras for the visitors to edge two points in front.

The salt was well and truly rubbed in the Maroons wounds with just three minutes remaining as Stoddart dived over for the try.

The defeat puts Gala down into fourth.

Gala: Graham Speirs, John Turnbull, Craig Russell, Rex Jeffrey, Alan Emond, Dean Keddie, Ewan Gunter, Chris Keen, Jack Chambers, Terry Logan, Richard Tod, Blair Reavely, Robbie Irvine, Fraser Hunter & Cameron Pate. Subs: Martin Christie, Lewis Roden, Tom Weir, Lachlan Johnston & Simon Fairburn.