Gala underline superiority over rivals Hawick

Chris Auld of Gala tries to break through a tackle by Hawick's Lee Armstrong in the Maroons' impressive derby win. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Chris Auld of Gala tries to break through a tackle by Hawick's Lee Armstrong in the Maroons' impressive derby win. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Gala continued a winning run against their local rivals on Saturday at Netherdale and the victory, which took the home side to the top of the Premiership, was welcomed by captain George Graham, who nevertheless offered caution on his team’s aspirations.

Gala 32-13 Hawick

Scorers: Gala – Tries: Somerville (2), Palepoi, Speirs, T. Weir. Cons: Scott (2). Pen: Scott. Hawick – Try: Renwick. Con: Renwick. Pens: Renwick (2).

“That was massive for us as we are striving for the top and we need to win every game we go into,” he said. “To get the try bonus point is huge. After dropping points [in previous matches], we knew that we had to put things right, and we did it.

“Every game is massive and, when you play against a Borders team, it is something special. We knew that it would be a scrap, and we got the result.”

Gala lock Opeta Palepoi, who again scored, played down reports that this will be his last season. “I can not say, I am always looking at a game at a time. I have not made up my mind yet.”

On the game, he said: “There was never a relaxed moment, although we were in front, but our attitude was first class.”

There was major disappointment in the Hawick camp. “It will take a bit of time to recover from that and I was really disappointed at the way we played in the first half,” said coach Phil Leck. “If you give sides twenty points of a start, you will not be in the game.”

Hawick were unfortunate to lose stand-off Rory Hutton late in the game with a shin injury, but, by then, the match was lost.

Gala led 22-6 at the interval. Grant Somerville went in for the first of his two tries after only ten minutes to add to Ewen Scott’s opening penalty and Palepoi’s try from a scrum and Scott’s conversion put the home side in the driving seat at 15-0.

Two Neil Renwick penalties boosted Hawick’s hopes, before Graham Speirs crossed the line to give Gala a 22-6 lead.

There were signs of a Hawick revival as Renwick scored and added the conversion and, for a time, Gala had to defend well to keep its line intact. But Tom Weir stretched the Gala lead and Somerville added the perfect finish in 76 minutes.

Gala now head to the Greenyards to play Melrose on Saturday in a top-of-the-table clash that should draw the biggest crowd of the season so far.

Gala: G. Speirs; G. Young, C. Auld, E. Scott, G. Somerville; A. McLean, George Graham; R. Sutherland, R. Anderson, E. McQuillin, O. Palepoi, C. Borthwick, Gary Graham, T. Weir, S. Cairns. Subs: C. Macintosh, E. Dods, C. Weir, G. Mein, C. Russell..

Hawick: NN. Renwick; S. Anderson, S. McLeod, L. Armstrong, N. McColm;; R. Hutton, J. Evens; S. Muir, L. Gibson, L. Launders, B. McNeil, R. McAlpine, N. Mactaggart, K. Davies, R. Scott. Subs: H. Scammell, , W. Blacklock, K. Willison, G. Anderson. A. Weir.