British & Irish Cup: Gala vindicate coach’s loyal move to snub professionals

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GALA gave their coach George Graham the perfect British and Irish Cup tonic with a stunning win at Netherdale over English Championship side Moseley.

Scorers: Gala – Tries: George Graham (2). Con: Millar. Pens: Millar (2). Moseley – Try: Pons. Pens: Thomas (2).

Graham refused the opportunity to bring in four professional players to bolster his squad and was rewarded in a match of passion and skill which added to their win over London Scottish in the same competition.

“We had the offer of four pro players, but, to be honest, I wanted to reward these players for all their hard work last season [national cup and Border League winners] and getting to this competition. I do not see the benefit of taking these players away after they have got here

“This is what they have worked for and this is their reward. This is what they have played for and this is what they deserved. We had no professional players – and we won.

“This is fantastic for the players and great for the club. It was excellent to come back after our defeat at Ayr and I think that we beat them in every department.

“Our defence as the end of the game was phenomenal and showed the character of these players.”

For former Scottish internationalist David Hilton, it was a disappointing return north of the Border.

“Gala deserved their win,” the Moseley coach said. “We came into the game at bits, but you cannot give Gala too much 

“We knew that it would a tough challenge for us and it turned out that way.”

Importantly, Gala won the try count 2-1. The hosts’ player George Graham jnr notched the first in 20 minutes after a 
pick-up at the back of the scrum by Stevie Cairns, deputising for the injured Euan Dods, and the No 9 then completed a superb break by Lee Millar and link by Craig Keddie early in the second half. Millar banged over one conversion and two penalties.

Moseley’s try, scored by Ben Pons, followed a forwards’ drive and Olly Thomas kicked two penalties.

There were two yellow cards for each side, Chris Weir and Craig Robertson, of Gala, and Moseley’s Adam Caves and Brad Davies. At a time of disappointment for the pro sides, Gala showed the way with an exhilarating display that was a huge boost for club rugby.

Gala: B Turner; G Somerville, C Auld, A Emond, G Young; L Millar, George Graham; L Pettie, RC Mackintosh, E McQuillin, C Weir, O Palepoi, C Keddie, Gary Graham, S Cairns. Subs: M Christie, D Marshall, R Anderson, A McLean, D Owensen, C. Borthwick, C Robertson.

Moseley: A Carter; S Hunt, C Ryan, C Hayter, B Robinson; B Davies, O Thomas; L Woodfield, A Caves, S Thorpe, A Lockley, L Mather, N Burrows, B Pons, N Mason. Subs: S Wilkes, D Hilton, B Piennar, O Robinson, B Lawrence, K Maggs, G Hughes.

Referee: M Patton.