Gala 22 - 29 Stirling County: Fourteen-man County raise game

Langi Haupeakui scored a try and was sent off

Langi Haupeakui scored a try and was sent off

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With both teams desperate for points to avoid a relegation battle, it was a tense battle at Netherdale in a game marred by a red card to Glasgow Warriors’ Langi Haupeakui, pictured, for a hefty challenge on Chris Keen.

But despite the loss of a player, Stirling raised their game to take full points with a bonus and Gala had to be content with a losing bonus point.

Gala made an aggressive start as Sasa Tofilau broke the Stirling defence, Rob Louw was up in support, and when the visitors were caught offside, Gregor Hunter kicked a penalty.

Both sides missed opportunities. Matt Donaldson failed to hold a pass near the Gala line and Rory Scholes could not take the ball after a break by Graham Speirs.

Gala remained a dominant force as Hunter was stopped short, but when the ball was shipped wide, Stirling broke downfield with an interception.

The visitors started to threaten for the first time although the home defence was helped when Danny Gilmour dropped the ball with a player free on his left.

They paid price on the half-hour as a break from Scholes was halted before Gary Adams found himself to score under the posts and Hunter converted.

Stirling passed up another chance when Jonny Hope pulled a penalty wide. However, they were not to be denied. Reyner Kennedy won a strike against the head, the pack drove forward, and Matt Donaldson picked up and darted over the line. Hope missed the conversion.

Both sides battled hard to give nothing away and Gala held on to their 10-5 lead at the interval. That proved to be short-lived as Haupeakui drove over on the restart and Hope converted.

Stirling continued to command the game and it was no surprise when Adam Sinclair scored and Hope converted to give his side a 19-10 lead.

There was further drama when Haupeakui was red carded and Keen was stretchered off the field to be replaced by Dean Brooker and the game was held up for around 10 minutes. From restart, George Lott, who had replaced Connor Adams, dived over and Hunter converted.

Despite being a man down, Stirling’s Hamilton Burr burst through two weak two tackles to pick up the bonus point and Hope converted.

Ross Combe touched down to close the gap only for Hope to kick a penalty at the other end.

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