Gala 23

Kelso 15

Bob Sneddon

at Netherdale

GALA'S gradual climb up National League One continued on Saturday with a hard-fought win over Kelso.

Gala fielded a weakened side due to injuries, illness and the team captain’s wedding.

But they still had enough in reserve to win this war of attrition on a miserably wet day at Netherdale.

The Maroons were rewarded for their early pressure with a Ross Cooke penalty on eight minutes.

And they went further in front after a turnover on their own 10 metres line led to Andrew Mitchell sprinting from inside his own half to touch down.

It got even better for the hardy home supporters, as just three minutes later Ruairi Howarth burst from his full-back position to release Cooke to score in the corner.

Although the conversion was missed again, Gala had raced into a 13-0 lead.

Kelso responded with a penalty on 24 minutes.

But the Tweedsiders couldn't close the gap any further as both teams struggled to put phases together in the wet conditions.

Gala looked to have wrapped up the points in the 55th minute as a rolling maul allowed flanker Liam Scott to barge his way over for a try.

Cooke's conversion gave the home team a commanding 20-3 lead.

But Kelso responded well and enjoyed their best period of the match.

Just after the hour substitute Aaron Jackson broke a tackle on the Gala 22 metre to run through to score.

Although Cooke kicked another penalty, Kelso continued to push for a way back into the match.

They were rewarded with a last-minute try from the forwards, which was converted by Murray Hastie.

It wasn't the most entertaining of games seen at Netherdale this season with too many handling errors, poor passing and missed tackles on both sides.

But Gala will be happy to have secured the points.

Gala travel to play play Heriots at Goldenacre this weekend.

They face Kelso again in the Scottish Cup at Netherdale later this month.