GALA moved back into a championship challenging position after defeating Boroughmuir in the Premiership A match at Netherdale on Saturday, despite a front-row crisis for the Maroons following the loss to injury of their hooker, Lewis Roden.
Their first-choice hooker, Russell Anderson, was with the Scotland Under-20 squad for Friday night’s match with Wales, but was not given any game time. As a result, several Gala officials were furious that Anderson had not been allowed to play for his club on Saturday.
In the event, Galashiels Academy PE teacher, Lewis Bertram, the replacement prop, saved the day for the home side, with an improvised and near faultless performance at hooker. If Bertram was a hero, then so were his front-row colleagues, Luke Pettie and Ewan McQuillan, who claimed tries for Gala on either side of the break.
The try by Pettie, who had earlier shown adroit footwork with a side-step worthy of a Welsh fly-half, was the finish to a glorious passage of play by Gala just after half-time. Gala’s other points provider was centre Lee Millar, who kicked four goals from four attempts.
Boroughmuir showed glimpses of their characteristic style of play, but the visitors could not break down a quick-engaging Gala defence. As a result, Muir resorted to scoring through their forwards, their try – by Nick Rose – coming from a driven lineout.
Muir coach Fergus Pringle blamed the fragmented nature of this part of the season for his side’s disjointed performance. He said: “It showed we hadn’t played for three weeks. There were too many mistakes and the accuracy at the breakdown wasn’t there.”