GHA 41

Gala 27

GALA'S title aspirations took a blow on Saturday as they fell to their second successive defeat.

It was a fairly confident Maroons team that pulled up at Braidholm despite several injuries forcing changes to the previous week's starting fifteen.

The remnants of Storm Brian meant the playing surface was wet and muddy.

But the conditions didn't seem to hamper the home team who raced into a first-minute lead.

Straight from the kick off GHA powered forward with the ball being fed to captain Andrew Goudie to race through a gap.

The captain's conversion made it 7-0 without Gala having touched the ball.

The pounding continued with Gala struggling to match the early pace and determination of the GHA pack.

David Corbenici ended a spell of pressure with the second try on 11 minutes.

And the home team's dominance continued with Sean Murray diving over in the corner.

At 19-0 Gala looked a well-beaten team, but they did finish the half with signs of improvement.

A penalty to touch within the GHA 22 brought some optimism, only for a crossing offence in the driving maul to deny them the scoring opportunity.

Goudie kicked a penalty just after the half hour to make it 22-0.

But back came the Maroons and Craig Russell finished off a good running move to score in the corner.

Hunter couldn't find the target from the touchline.

The momentum from the end of the first half continued after the interval.

On 49 minutes John Turnbull reduced the deficit further with a well executed try.

And within five minutes Russell had shown his pace again to race in for Gala's third score.

Hunter's conversion reduced the GHA lead to just 22-17.

The Maroons, with the wind at the their backs, were looking good.

But on the hour Alan Emond was yellow carded and GHA took full advantage of the extra man.

Despite some strong defending Andrew Spowart eventually crossed the whitewash.

Just three minutes later Dario Ewing made sure of the home victory as he crashed over.

Goudie's conversion made it 34-17 with a little over 10 minutes remaining.

All credit to Gala as once restored to full numbers again they pushed the hosts back.

Russell raced in for his third try of the afternoon on 71 minutes.

Any hopes of closing in even more disappeared in the 78th minute as GHA were awarded a penalty try.

There was still time for an injury-time try from Graham Speirs, but it was too little, too late.

Gala: G Speirs, J Turnbull, C Russell, G Hunter, A Emond, D Keddie, E Gunter, M Christie, J Chambers, C Keen, C Pate, B Reavely, C Weir, F Welsh & R Irvine. Reps: L Roden, J Watson, T Weir, R Tod & L Johnston.