Title challengers Gala put injury problems behind them to maintain their Premiership pole position with a bonus-point win over Glasgow Hawks despite trailing 14-3 after 30 minutes.
Gala’s extensive injury list, which adds up to eight frontline forwards currently out of action, looked to be handicapping the Borderers as Hawks’ powerful pack bossed the early exchanges only for the visitors to be held up over the line three times in the first five minutes. But, after conceding two close-range scores, Gala, who were forced to field 39-year-old Ewan Johnstone on the tighthead, rediscovered the intensity level that has brought them success this season to dominate the game.
Hawks were into their stride from the kick-off and after five minutes skipper Andy Linton crashed over for a try converted by Glasgow professional Scott Wight. The seven-point lead was reduced when Ewan Scott kicked a penalty goal but, from a five-metre scrum, Hawks struck again with a pick-up try by their Scotland sevens cap Ross Miller, pictured, Wight again converting for a 14-3 lead.
Gala hit back forcefully and, when Miller collected a yellow card for impeding scrum-half Grayson Hart, who had an outstanding game for the Maroons yesterday, the home side made their opponents pay as Scott angled his run perfectly for a try under the posts, which he converted. Two minutes later Grant Somerville finished off a counter offensive with a try in the corner, again converted by Scott.
The Maroons’ maintained their intensity to add a third try, from an O’Hagan break and a clever off-load by Calum McIntosh, before Scott showed his man-of-the-match credentials with a solo run for his second try of the game and the bonus point earner, the centre completing the conversion.