Gala 13-6 Peebles: Miller is the spice of life

Gala's hopes of regaining membership of Scottish rugby's top tier were given a boost yesterday with victory over Peebles at Netherdale that has propelled the Maroons to second position in Premier B.

• Freeze frame: Flanker Euan Dods takes on Peebles in temperatures as low as -8 degrees at Netherdale. Photograph: David Gibson

It was Peebles who had the first chance of points with a kick at goal from stand-off Neil Warmock, after Gala had been judged offside as the fly half lined up a drop goal. The penalty kick, however, drifted wide of the posts and an early opportunity had been missed.

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The Peebles stand-off then sliced his second attempt at goal leaving his side ruing six missed points and giving Gala the belief that fortune might be favouring them. It did. From a lofted free kick, then the charge of Gala's heavy brigade, Peebles were penalised and from the ten metre line home stand-off Lee Miller struck the ball sweetly to claim the game's first points.

Peebles, who had been showing better use of the ball in hand, struck back, the visitors coming close to scoring with a clever backline move. Gala's defence, however was judged to have breached the offside limit, giving Warnock the chance to atone for his two miscued kicks with a successful effort to level the scores.

The first half came to an end with Gala being given the chance to kick a second penalty goal but unaccountably the home side opted to run the ball instead of taking what seemed a sure three point score, leaving the two sides locked at 3-3 going into the half time break.

Peebles certainly looked the more fired-up at the beginning of the second half and they should have garnered reward points when Gala were penalised in their own 22m area but for the third time in four attempts Warnock was off target.

The pressure Gala then applied on Peebles resulted in a yellow card for Willie Aitken after the prop had prevented fair release of the ball on the Peebles line allowing Gala to use their greater numbers to drive at the Peebles line. Peebles initially resisted but when the ball was moved to the blindside Euan Dods gave the perfect pass for Miller to touch down in the corner and then convert from the touchline for a 10-3 lead.

A penalty goal by Warnock reduced Gala's lead, but it only served as a spur for a strong finish by the home side that almost produced further tries by Gala, Euan Dods tackled short and then Opeta Palepoi chopped down after a storming run. Gala, however, were happy enough to settle for a second penalty from Miller to seal the match.

Scorers: Gala: Tries: Miller. Con: Miller. Pens: Miller 2. Peebles: Pens: N Warnock 2.

Gala: M Walton; G Young, B Dick, A Emond, R Livingsgton; L Miller, G Graham; A Johnston, L Roden, E McQuillan, G Graham, O Palepoi, E Dods, S Cairns, T Weir Subs used L Pettie, B Murray, D Marshall, C Dods.

Peebles: D Anderson; M Cruishank, D Clancy, D McLean, N Hogath; N Warnock, A Moore; W Aitken, R McConnell, A Clark, D Harvey, A Brown, A Warnock, E Jackson, D Paton Subs used D Brown, S Temita.

Referee: J-M Burel.