BT PREMIERSHIP: GALA 24-49 CURRIE

23/09/16 Myreside - Edinburgh Watsonians v Currie Photo credit should read: © Craig Watson Craig Watson, craigwatsonpix@icloud.com 07479748060 craigwatsonphotography@hotmail.com www.craigwatson.co.uk

STUART RUTHERFORD @ Netherdale

IT may have been bonfire night in Galashiels but it was the visitors who brought the fireworks as they lit up Netherdale with a dazzling display, running in eight tries to continue their impressive league form.


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With only four points separating these two sides prior to kick-off, there is no doubt that both coaches would have pinpointed this fixture as an important potential victory. Currie, however, seem to have turned a corner as of late and have put the league on notice with several breath-taking displays.

The Malleny Park outfit have tallied impressive victories at home to Heriots and away to Glasgow Hawks and they very nearly toppled Ayr last weekend. The capital side continued their red hot form here and at times simply glided though Gala’s defence with ease. The result delighted Currie’s head coach Ben Cairns.

“We felt like if we played with pace and intensity it would pay dividends” he said. “We felt like we had the fitter pack and that we would be able to move theirs around the pitch effectively, and I think that’s what happened. When we played with multiple phases we were able to find gaps in their line and execute with tries.”

“We started the season with a lot of injuries, but I guess what that does is give guys a chance and now were in the position where we have a really strong squad. The boys know that if you don’t play well one week, someone else will be waiting in the wings to take your place and I think that’s really pushed us on these last few weeks.”

The visitors nearly took the lead with only a minute on the clock. After securing the kick-off, the ball was immediately fed to Jamie Forbes who showed no hesitation in stepping his man and sprinting into the Gala twenty-two. The stand-off then showed great awareness by putting in a delicate chip which was nearly collected by the trailing Cameron Hutchison, however, Gala’s Paul Hendry was on the spot to gather and clear.

Following the early scare, Gala grabbed hold of possession and the home side were camped on the visitor’s five metre line for a five minute spell. After a number of attacking lineouts, it appeared that the Borderers were going to make the initial breakthrough, however, prop Dean Brooker spilled the ball forward after taking contact only yards from the whitewash. This blunder allowed Currie to pounce on the ball before clearing their lines.

After sucking up the relentless Gala pressure, it was the visitors who took the lead against the run of the play, with the try coming after a penalty was kicked to the Gala five metre line. After securing the ball at the front of the lineout, the ball was quickly fed by Charlie Shiel to the oncoming Hamish Bain. The second row showed great agility by stepping inside his man before reaching over the line for his side’s first points of the afternoon.

Gregor Hunter nailed a penalty to put the Border’s side on the scoreboard, however, they fell further behind following superb play from Currie’s inventive backline. After theri forwards worked their way into the home side’s twenty-two, the ball was eventually thrown out wide to Ben Robbins. The winger showed great imagination by quickly chipping the ball over his opposite number before kicking it further towards the Gala try line. Harvey Elms was in the right place at the right time and dived on the ball to extend the visitor’s lead.

Gala responded positively and fought back with an excellent backline try of their own only moments later. After winning a lineout in the Currie half the ball was worked out to Hunter who made up valuable yards before being chopped down just shy of the twenty-two. Possession was then fed to the galloping Hendry who did well to draw his man before offloading to Sasa Tofilau. The Edinburgh pro bobbled the pass before putting in Ross Combe in the corner. The winger had the simplest tasks of breezing over the line to put the home side back in the contest. Hunter hit the tricky penalty and the score was left at 10-12.

Just when Gala had looked to take a grip of the match they conceded their third try of the afternoon and it again resulted from Currie’s stellar backline handling with Elms working the overlap before offloading to Robbins for an easy try in the corner.

Currie had another try wiped off when Bain was deemed to be held up over the line, however Forbes did eventually extend his team’s lead when he added a penalty to make it 10-20 going into the break.

Currie were completely outplayed by Ayr in the first half of their clash last weekend, however they played like a different team in the second half and very nearly recorded a remarkable comeback. For the first five minutes of the second half of this match it looked like this was going to be the case in reverse as Gala pushed hard for a way back into the match, mounting wave after wave of attack, however a careless error gifted Currie their bonus point fourth try of the afternoon.

After Gala worked the ball out wide, Paul Hendry attempted to throw a miss one pass to winger Craig Robertson, but Robbins read the situation perfectly. The winger pounced on the pass for an easy interception before sprinting under the posts from 50 yards for the opportunistic score.

This blunder did not seem to deter the home side and they eventually scored their second try of the afternoon after fantastic handling skill from Tofilau.

The former Kirkcaldy centre’s offloading talents had been on show all afternoon and again he was pivotal in Gala’s offensive play. After a powerful break from Hendry, the ball was offloaded to the aforementioned Samoan, who showed incredible awareness to pop the ball ‘out the back door’ to the supporting Robertson. The winger looked to have ran out of room when he collected the ball in the corner, but showed his scoring instinct by diving for the line with one hand. Hunter was successful with the conversion and the score was now 17-27.

This was to be the closest the Borderers got to the visitors, however, as the men from Malleny Park scored a further four times in a twenty minute barrage that Gala head coach Chris Dalgleish – and all his players – will no doubt want to forget. Tries from Ross Weston, Robbie Nelson and Thomas Gordon cemented the visitors’ hefty lead, whilst a fantastic individual score from scrum-half Shiel was the icing on the cake.

Gala’s Stevie Cairns managed a consolation score for the hosts but in truth the visitors wrapped up the game after 60 minutes.

Currie march into the international break on a high whilst it doesn’t get any easier for Gala as they next host league leaders Ayr.

Teams –

Gala: G Speirs(c); R Combe, S Tofilau, P Hendry, C Robertson; G Hunter, C Adams; C Keen, M Carryer, D Brooker, C Weir, A Emond, G Adams, S Cairns. Subs: C Reynolds, G Robertson, C Pate, G Lott, L Berg.

Currie: H Elms; B Robbins, R Nelson, C Hutchison, C Gray; J Forbes, C Shiel; J Fox, F Scott, G Carson, H Bain, S Ainslie, L Crosbie, T Gordon, R Weston(c). Subs: A McWilliam, R Patterson, R Davies, S McGinley, R Snedden.

Referee: Cammy Rudkin

Scorers –

Gala: Tries: Combe, Robertson, Cairns; Cons: Hunter 3 Pens: Hunter.

Currie: Tries: Bain, Elms, Robbins 2, Weston, Nelson, Gordon, Shiel; Cons: Forbes 3; Pens: Forbes.

Scoring sequence (Gala first): 0-7, 3-7, 3-12, 10-12, 10-17, 10-20 (h-t) 10-27, 17-27, 17-32, 17-39, 24-39, 24-44, 24-49

Man-of-the-Match: Currie’s Ben Robbins was a live-wire all afternoon and capped off his stellar performance with two tries. The exciting winger scored twice against Ayr last weekend and again was all over the scoresheet this afternoon.

Talking point: Currie’s fantastic defence was undoubtably the foundation that this performance was built upon. Their mobile pack suffocated Gala’s attempts to attack and their line speed was second to none.

 

 

About Stuart Rutherford 50 Articles
Stuart hails from the Borders town of Selkirk and has been around rugby all his life, largely thanks to the influence of his father, John. Not only a fan of the modern game, he is a keen rugby historian, and produces a regular 'Throwback Thursday Column' for The Offside Line.