Gala 31

Peebles 12

Atholl Innes at Netherdale

THAT this Booker Border League went ahead on Thursday as it was simply a ‘dead rubber’ was remarkable on a night in the heart of the festive season.

There was a fair crowd, starved earlier in the month due to the weather postponements, at Netherdale to see Gala come back from a 0-12 deficit to run in five tries against a Peebles team which disappeared into the gloom in the second half.

After a mixed season, National League 1 Gala found their National League 2 opponents in benevolent mood as they were swamped under a maroon tide in the second half.

But the Border League was out of reach with Jed-Forest and Hawick battling for a place in the final.

It had all looked so promising for Peebles who raced into a 12-0 lead with tries from Jamie Menzies and Scott Stoddart, who raced the length of the field to score, Callum Anderson converting the second.

But as Gala fought back to level with tries from Fraser Hunter and Simon Fairburn, Gregor Hunter converting the latter’s try, it was game on – and game over – particularly as Peebles were fortunate not to concede a penalty try after a succession of Gala penalties awarded by referee Michael Todd.

The difference between the sides was evident after the interval as Peebles seldom got into the Gala half as Graham Speirs’ side controlled the play as a necessary build-up to the forthcoming league programme.

Peebles eventually paid the penalty for discretions on the field as Anderson was sent to the sin-bin late in the game, which by then was out of their reach.

Further scores followed from John Turnbull and Kerr Gerrard, Gregor Hunter kicking the conversions, and Gala moved into the festive season with plenty of Christmas spirit and hope that Santa will fill their stockings with presents that will revitalise their season.

It was a worthwhile workout before Gala face Melrose in the Waverley Cup and re-commence the National League against Falkirk on January 6.

Gala: G. Speirs; D. Keddie, J. Turnbull, C. Jordaan, S. Fairburn; G. Hunter, E. Gunter; M. Christie, C. Keen, T. Logan, C. Weir, R. Tod, R. Irvine, S. Wilkinson & S. Cairns. Replacements: P. Stewart, J. Chambers, J. Watson, B. Reavely, M. Fraught, J. Easson, G. Shepherd, K. Gerard & L. Johnstone.

Peebles: R. Clinch; S. Stoddart, M. Brown, C. Anderson, J. King; G. Raeburn, D. Anderson; W. Aitken, R. Stewart, J. Menzies, R. Brown, W. Brown, R. Maciver, J. Ellison & R. Ginny. Replacements: G. Pate, W. Lindsey & M. Johnston,