Gala 10

Hawick 26

Atholl Innes

at Netherdale

ARGUABLY, there is no such thing as a Gala-Hawick friendly, but the object of the exercise at a sunny Netherdale on Saturday was for the players to build a momentum for the final league surge.

It does appear, although not yet official, that the top six sides in National League 1 will take the places of the Super Six in a new Championship.

Gala will be among the challengers and their coach, Opeta Palepoi, admitted that such a promotion remained a target with four games to play.

“That was the purpose of this game as we have a big game next (against Aberdeen),” he said.

“The main thing for us is to get that match fitness and put things together that we have been working on.

“I have seen some things from that, but the main thing is that we have come away with that match fitness.

“Promotion is in the back of our minds and in the minds of everyone else, too. There are six guys expected to go up and it is really tight and that is the level it could be next season.

“In these games there could be injuries, but you have to take the risk. It is nice to get a little taste of what it is” – and ironically Gala and Hawick could face each other next season with the Greens battling for survival in the Premiership.

There was no doubt that on the day, Hawick deserved to win the match, but it was all credit to Gala who battled hard throughout.

Lee Armstrong scored the opening try in 18 minutes and converted before Scott Wilkinson scored the first of a double.

Hawick continued to dominate and a further score from Kirk Ford gave the visitors a 12-5 half-time lead.

Callum Renwick and Daniel Suddon added to the scoreline, Ali Weir converting both, until Wilkinson added a second for the Maroons with three minutes left.

Gala: S. Fairburn; S. Wilkinson, D. Nicholson, R. Jeffrey, J. Frew; J. Turnbull, L. Johnston; M. Christie, J. Chambers, T. Logan, R. Irvine, J. Watson, S. Cairns, A. Dun & E. Dods. Replacements: J. Easson, R. Tod, D. Kerr, E. Johnston, I. Ross, G. Speirs, K. Young.

Hawick: A Weir, L Gordon-Wooley, A Mitchell, G Walker, K Ford, L Armstrong, G Welsh, N Little, C Renwick, D Johnstone, D Suddon, D Redpath, K Davies, J Linton & B McNeil. Replacements: R Hartegan, C Greer, S Graham, D Lightfoot, K Brunton, G Huggan, R McKean, A Redpath, G Welsh.