Gala 39

Musselburgh 41

David Morrison at Netherdale

FESTIVE cheer was a little short on the ground at Netherdale following Gala's latest collapse.

Despite recent heavy losses at Jedforest and Boroughmuir hopes were high of a return to winning ways against lowly Musselburgh.

And for a while it looked like the points would be remaining at Netherdale after opening up a 21-point gap midway through the second half.

But it was the East Lothian team who were to have the last laugh as they claimed victory with the last kick of the game.

Musselburgh started well with a try from the crafty Donald Kennedy inside the opening five minutes.

Danny Owenson added a penalty to his conversion for a deserved 10-0 lead on eight minutes.

Gala, though, responded well with some powerful forwards play.

Just after the tenth minute the Maroons muscled their way close to the line before Rex Jeffrey crashed over,

Hunter closed the gap with the conversion.

And within five minutes Gala took the lead with a well-worked try for Graham Speirs.

The Maroons were well on top up front.

And the home team were given a further boost with the yellow card of Musselburgh's Rory Watt.

Gala pummelled away inside the visitors' 22 with a series of scrums.

But they had to wait until the 34th minute before Chris Keen finally added to the home tally. Hunter made it 22-10 with the conversion.

There was still time for one final twist to the first half with Chris Weir collecting a yellow card just a minute before the interval.

And Luke Hutson made the extra man count by diving over to reduce Gala's lead.

The Maroons were reduced to 13 men on 44 minute as Terry Logan was also sent to the sin bin.

But the home team weathered the storm well with Graham Speirs scrambling over for the bonus point try.

Hunter's conversion took the score to 29-15 with Logan preparing to bring the Gala team back up to its full compliment.

When Richard Tod barged his way over for the fifth try on the hour it seemed all over.

Hunter's kick made it 36-15 with just 19 minutes remaining on the clock.

But it all began to go wrong for the home team.

A series of mistakes allowed Musselburgh to creep closer to the line before Owenson dived over out wide.

And a high tackle from Dean Keddie saw him receive a yellow card in the 68th minute.

Kennedy scurried over just two minutes later to reduce the deficit further.

Owenson's kick made it 36-27 with eight minutes to go.

The fly-half took advantage of the gaps which were opening up to go in for another Burgh try just four minutes later.

His own conversion narrowed the gap to two points.

The biggest cheer of the afternoon greeted Gala's penalty award in the 78th minute.

Hunter added the three points - and at 39-34 it looked like it was enough for the win.

Musselburgh, to their credit, didn't give up and following a series of well-controlled drives and rucks Connor Slaven touched down.

Owenson's 83rd minute conversion was followed by the final whistle.

Gala: G Speirs, J Turnbull, R Jeffrey, A Emond, S Fairburn, G Hunter, E Gunter, M Christie, C Keen, T Logan, C Weir, B Reavely, R Tod, R Irvine, & S Cairns. Reps. P Stewart, J Chambers, J Watson, L Johnston & D Keddie.