GALA and Heriot’s remain in contention for the Premiership after an engrossing encounter which finished in a rainstorm at Netherdale.
The home side scored the only try of a match which coach George Graham described as a vital win, while Heriot’s fell short of full points in injury time when scrum-half Graham Wilson failed to get possession to attempt a drop at goal. Gala defied them when it mattered most, stretching over the finishing line with little to spare.
In the wet conditions, the play was seldom spectacular, even if it was plausible on what was a perfect pitch, and the outcome remained on a knife-edge until the final whistle.
“We showed a lot of character and we dug in,” said Graham. “It was not a pretty match. In the years gone by, we have talked about the performance and the result will look after itself. This time it was all about the result.
“I was delighted with the try and we could have scored another two. Consequently, they could have done as well, but we defended very well. We showed that we can compete with any team in this league, and at the end of the day, it is all about getting four points.”
Heriot’s were disappointed that they were unable to snatch a win in the final minute, and coach Phil Smith noted: “The game got what it deserved, a pretty close scoreline, and we are sorry that we did not get a last ‘pot’ at it.
“Graham [Wilson] got in the pocket to get at least a shot at the drop goal, and for three phases he was ready, but we blew it. It would have been a steal, and I accept that.
“However, there is no way we are out of the championship as there are a lot of games to be played. We just need to get back to winning ways and keep ourselves together.”
The Gala defence was outstanding to deny Heriot’s a try. The visitors’ only points came from Wilson’s boot, the third kick giving his side the lead for the only time with 15 minutes left.
Heriot’s did have opportunities close to the Gala line, but touch tackling and a spread-eagled defence kept the attacks at bay. The backs threatened at pace, but failed to unlock the home cover.
A decisive break from Cammy Ferguson almost brought a result, but it was in the final few minutes that Gala’s resolute defence stemmed the threat of defeat.
They were also fortunate to see a Wilson penalty ricochet off the post with the score at 8-6, but the scrum-half made amends two minutes later.
Winger Grant Somerville scored the only try, in the right-hand corner, and Ewan Scott added two penalties, the second after Gala’s Chris Weir had been sent to the sinbin.
A delighted Gala president, Scott Dalgleish, said the victory served “to avenge that 12 minutes of folly earlier in the season at Goldenacre when we threw away a bonus point win”.
Gala were also able to give winger, Gerald Sibanda, a run after his long lay-off with a shoulder injury, but he did not see much ball to be able to increase the threat expected by the supporters.
However, with Gala playing catch-up rugby with games in hand, he will get the opportunity – starting with Stirling County on Saturday.