McLeod-inspired Hawick sink local rivals Gala

Hawick tryscorer Stuart Graham shakes off his Gala pursuers in the derby at Mansfield Park. Photograph: John Devlin

Hawick tryscorer Stuart Graham shakes off his Gala pursuers in the derby at Mansfield Park. Photograph: John Devlin

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HAWICK maintained their challenge for a play-off spot with a vital win over their local rivals.

The home side were again able to field Newcastle Falcons’ Scott McLeod, whose dominance at the lineout and the aggressive play of Keith Davies troubled the visitors.

“That was a hard game and the conditions were not what I am used to,” McLeod said. “Gala stuck in well and all teams go through bad spells.”

Gala captain Chris Weir said: “It was a better performance and we just need that first win.”

There were a few melees, and in the final minutes Cameron Pate and Ali Weir were yellow-carded by referee Mike Adamson.

Hawick went ahead in seven minutes when Kirk Ford’s pace forced the illegal challenge from Ruairi Howarth, who was yellow-carded, and Weir kicked the goal.

Gala again pressed with two penalty kicks to the left-hand corner, but Hawick turned ball over and raced to the other end, where Weir kicked his second goal.

Gala were then swept aside as Stuart Graham forced a way over the line and Weir converted. Gala’s response was swift as George Graham took a quick penalty inside his own half, fed Euan Dods and his pass sent Alan Emond under the posts. Howarth converted.

Gala put their opponents under the cosh but Hawick defended well to clear their lines with turn-over ball again. Play raged to the other end, where Weir kicked his third penalty to give Hawick a 16-7 lead.

Davies was taken into touch as Hawick repeatedly threatened the Gala line and the visitors survived an anxious ten minutes to go in only 7-16 behind.

Hawick continued to have the greater play after the break with McLeod and Craig Charters winning crucial ball, but Charters was sent to the sin-bin for infringing and taking a player out at the lineout.

Hawick turned up the heat with 14 men, and after Steven Anderson was tackled short, the ball was swung left to Craig Russell, who scored in the corner and Weir converted.

Matt Carryer scored a Gala consolation try, converted by Craig Dods, in the final move of a tough encounter.

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