Gala romp to 1983 title with 112-point haul at Netherdale

Division 1 champions Gala in 1982-83. Picture: Waverley Studios
Division 1 champions Gala in 1982-83. Picture: Waverley Studios
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GALA not only made sure of winning the Division 1 title for the third time in four years thanks to their annihilation of Gordonians at Netherdale, but as an added bonus they also discovered a goalkicker extraordinaire in David Bryson.

Gala 112, Gordonians 4 The Scotsman, 21 March 1983

The scrum-half took over after Peter Dods and Jim Maitland had between them missed seven conversions in the first half and proceeded to land 11 in succession in a superb display of kicking.

When you add in his three tries it proved to be a happy ending to what had been a traumatic week for Bryson.

He had originally been selected as a replacement for the Scotland B team but had hoped that the SRU would grant Gala’s request to release him for the national league game. However, the SRU refused and Bryson, who played for the B XV last season, was left with an awkward decision to make.

Should he sit on a bench for 80 minutes or help his club win the championship?

Not surprisingly Bryson plumped for Gala, but really he should not have been put in that position. The SRU ought to be prepared ro release players, and certainly the replacements, of those clubs who had important league games.

However, Bryson’s loyalty was well rewarded with his 34 points being a club record, as were his 11 successive conversions. In fact it’s doubtful if his second feat has been achieved all that many times anywhere. The writing was on the wall for the Aberdeen side by the tenth minute, Gala having already scored three tries. The Gala forwards, over the game, must have won about 95 per cent of possession and tries just had to come. In all, 21 were scored, 16 by the backs.

The scorers were Bruce Mitchell (4), Jim Maitland (4), Don Ledingham (3), Bryson (3), Ivor Roy (2), Jock Berthinussen (2), Tom Smith (2) and David Leslie with Peter Dods converting three and Bryson 11. It was just too easy and once again highlighted the need for a new leagues set-up.

Gordonians have now conceded 41 tries in two games and some of their players should have followed the example of their veteran scrum-half Ian McCrae who was still giving 100 per cent at the end. The visitors’ touch-judge doubled as their “sponge” man and when one of the players ripped his shorts the only pair available were the touch judge’s. Just as well he also had tracksuit bottoms!

In about their only attack, full-back Allan Croll sent winger Bill Bain in for a try. It seems incredible but it was only a year ago that Gordonians held Gala to a few points at Seafield. How times have changed.

Gala’s huge win gives them a points differential of 375 against Hawick’s 267 which makes Hawick’s game against West of Scotland at Burnbrae on 13 April somewhat immaterial.

Incidentally, the referee in Gordonians’ last two games has been Jim Fleming who has seen 43 tries being scored and, just as exceptional, not one penalty kick at goal.