Dundee High 10

Gala 16

David Morrison at Mayfield

GALA'S encouraging start to 2018 continued on Saturday at Dundee.

In a cagey clash which hung in the balance for much of the second half, it was the Maroons who held their nerve to remain third in the table.

Dundee had opened brightly, forcing the visitors to defend deep.

But it was clear early on that, with a muddy surface, the defences were well on top.

The first points on the board came from the boot of Dean Keddie after 27 minutes of play.

Gala were winning the battles up front and also commanding an advantage at the scrums.

But turning this into points was proving problematic as mistakes continued to creep into play.

Dundee's defence was also strong and gave Gala little in the way of opportunities to break the line.

An injury to the influential Terry Logan was a blow for the Maroons just before half time.

The arm-wrestle looked to be going the way of the hosts at the start of the second half as Isoa Matacagi powered over for the opening try on 44 minutes.

Harvey Young pulled the conversion wide.

Keddie was also off target for Gala a few minutes later with a long-range penalty.

But Gala finally made the breakthrough from Dundee's clearance.

Several phases of forward drives led to Paul Stewart, who had replaced the injured Logan, crashing over for the try.

Keddie couldn't land the conversion.

But he made amends five minutes later with a penalty to take Gala 13-5 ahead.

Dundee continued to threaten and they were rewarded with a try from stand-off Harvey Young out wide.

Young's conversion again went wide - leaving the visitors three points in front with 14 minutes remaining.

Play ebbed and flowed up and down Mayfield.

Importantly Gala's defence was disciplined enough not to concede any penalties.

And when the opportunity came for Keddie at the other end he took it - extending Gala's advantage to six points.

Dundee, to their credit, pushed for a try in the closing stages, and it took several good tackles to keep them at bay.

With the last play of the game Dundee battered at the Gala line, but a tremendous tackle by Graham Speirs not only halted the attack but won the visitors a penalty.

Gala: G Speirs, F Hunter, J Turnbull, A Emond, C Robertson, D Keddie, I Ross, M Christie, C Keen, T Logan, B Reavely, C Weir, J Watson, R Tod & S Cairns. Reps: P Stewart, L Roden, J Chambers, R Irvine & K Gerrard