GALA took 86 minutes to score the four-try bonus point through Grant Somerville on Saturday at Netherdale, and the opening-day win was described as vital by coach George Graham.
“We made it hard work for ourselves, but I have to be really pleased with four tries in our opening game. But our breakdown work was poor and we have areas to work on,” he said. “Overall, this was about a win, get a good start and give us a confidence boost. The boys dug deep, our defensive effort was fantastic and I am over the moon.”
Craig Borthwick, moved from the three-quarters into the pack, scored his first try for the club, but the coach has yet to decide on the ex-Peebles player’s best position. “I am pleased for him and he adds a bit of steel to the forwards,” he said. But the loss of prop Luke Pettie, with an apparent dislocated knee, could sideline him for several games.
Currie coach, Ally Donaldson, added: “It is a young and new team, and we are disappointed. It did not feel like 31-14, but there are a few areas that we have to tighten up on. A lot of the young guys stood up. They gained in confidence as the game went on and that will stand them in good stead for the future.”
Currie got off to a promising start with an early Richard Snedden penalty, but their only try came from an interception by Joe Reynolds one minute from the end, and this after a Ruaridh Smith score had been chalked off when a team-mate had strayed offside.
Snedden also added three penalties, and at one stage Currie trailed only by four points, but another Gala newcomer, David O’Hagan, banged over three penalties and converted a second-half try by Alan Emond.
Opeta Palepoi was also on the mark with a try in his final season, but it was Somerville who squeezed in at the right-hand corner in the sixth minute of injury time after Gala had, in the words of the coach, “butchered” several opportunities.