Gala 32 – 36 Aberdeen
Aberdeen ended Gala’s 4 game winning streak as they claimed a bonus point victory in an end to end battle at Netherdale.
The previous meeting between the two sides saw Gala walk away the victors, yet Aberdeen’s fast pace and wide attack proved too much for the men from the borders.
Gala were quick off the mark notching up 10 points in as many minutes. Number 8 Cairns crossed over the whitewash off the back of several sloppy Aberdeen penalties with the extra 3 added minutes later.
Aberdeen began to display their quick attacking ball on the 11th minute with scrumhalf Jake Gray being instrumental in sending prop Matthias Schosser diving over on the far wing.
The men from the granite city took the lead for the first time in the game when winger Matt Arnold intercepted and sprinted 60 metres to score on the 22nd minute.
The lead swung back and forth in the second quarter with both sides attacking well. Gala took an easy 3 points in front of the posts and Aberdeen replied through “the magician” Robin Cessford who scored another well worked try on the wing.
The half ended with Gala’s Captain and fullback Speirs darting over the whitewash giving the home side a narrow lead going into the second half.
Half-time Gala 20 – 19 Aberdeen
The second half started much the same as the first. Gala were quick to capitalise on Aberdeen’s mistakes and no. 12 Emond extended their lead to 8 points on the 43rd minute.
The men in white were quick to reply. A stolen Gala lineout and hard ball carrying from Robin Cessford saw the ball reach Gala 5. Greig Ryan cheekily popped the ball back inside allowing Bryn Perrott to score, gaining Aberdeen the try bonus point.
Throughout the remainder of the half, both sides squandered try-scoring opportunities. Scrums went uncontested after Gala lost their front row to injury only for Aberdeen to lose two of their own minutes later.
On the 62nd minute, Bryn Perrott brought Aberdeen into the lead with a 3 point kick from close range.
The final nail in the coffin came on the 70th minute when Captain Alex Ratcliffe barrelled over the line. The subsequent conversion left Gala having to claw back 9 points in as many minutes.
The final minutes of the game were not without excitement. A yellow card to Aaron Robertson for a no arms chop gave the men in red a man advantage for the remaining few minutes.
Gala capitalised on the man advantage to score on the 78th minute and gain a try bonus. The missed conversion meant that a one further try was the only way the men from Netherdale could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
That try never came. Both sets of supporters were on their feet cheering on the sides to the death with Aberdeen managing to survive a final rally to end the game the victors.
Full-time Gala 32 – 36 Aberdeen
Head Coach Ali O’Connor after the game: “We communicated more effectively this week and showed character so credit our guys. Communication in the set piece is key, the lads stepped up and took ownership showing a marked improvement on last week’s performance.
Gala started really well. We knew they would come out of the blocks fast. There was an element of fitness on our side that allowed us to stay in the game, but I think the front row was the big difference with all 4 stepping up to the plate and putting in a big performance.”
Gala: G. Speirs (c), S. Fairburn, D. Nicholson, A Emond, J. Turnbull, D. Keddie, E. Gunter, P. Stewart, J. Chambers, T. Logan, B. Reavely, J. Watson, R. Irvine, R. Tod, S. Cairns
Replacements: L. Roden, F. Hunter, L. Johnston
Aberdeen Rugby: Doug Russell, Craig Shepherd, Nathan Clough, Alex Ratcliffe (c), Matt Arnold, Bryn Perrott, Jake Gray, Ross Anderson, Matthias Schosser, Rob Ellinson, Aaron Robertson, Drew Whitehead, Robin Cessford, Alec Dravitski, Greig Ryan
Replacements: Colin Neilson, Ewan Stewart, Will Alton, Dom Wallen, James Palmer