First up many thanks to the Maroons support that made the trip up to Sunnyside in good numbers.
This was the first game Falkirk had played on their new pitch (the surface most comparable to our own in this league) and had targeted this fixture for its first use for a while. A big support bolstered by a fixture against our Vets (Gala win) before the main event was clearly hoping to make it a day to remember. At half time it looked like they might do it turning round 8-3 up, but a big performance in the second 40 spoilt the day with the final whistle coming at 16-34.
2 minutes in and we give away our first penalty, which they put to touch and are able to continue after a squint throw, but we stop them as they go wide. 2 minutes later however and we concede another that they kick, 3-0.
We get our first chance at points in the 8th, but Millar is unusually off target from their 22. This does however seem to wake up the team and we go about things with a bit more determination. The added pressure keeps our hosts pinned in their own half for the next 5 minutes before they concede another penalty 30m out, that Millar converts to make it 3-3.
Palepoi is injured, but is replaced by Marshall so no loss to our physical presence.
3 minutes later we get another penalty 5m in their half and put it to touch on the 22, take a short line, only to knock it into touch and then win it back at their throw, and then lose it in 2nd phase of contact 15m out.
The Falkirk support are all on their feet in the 20th as they break out of their own 22 and with 4 missed tackles they are up and into our 22 where a chip and chase to beat the cover is only just won by Graham (9). The home support donít have long to wait however as shortly after they have the put in at a scrum inside our 10m line, go blind and with more missed tackles cross in the corner for the first try. Conversion missed, 8-3.
We almost reply immediately as we move it wide from a scrum and a seemingly bad pass bounces nicely on the new surface to go straight to Livingstonís hands and he takes off up the wing and crosses in the corner, only to be called back for grazing the line on his way.
We have another chance 3 minutes later but a misread pass as we attack sees the ball go to ground and they quickly counter and take it up to our 22 with a kick ahead that forces us to tap it out, only to concede a penalty and let us clear it.
33 played and penalty Gala 6m in our half is put to touch 28m from their line. Initial guddle at the lineout but tidied, only to almost see it intercepted as we move it from there. Falkirk knock on in the intercept attempt, but then get a free kick at our scrum which sees some frantic defence on our part after the tap and go, and forces a knock on.
37 gone and we force them into touch 5m from our line after we get caught following a scrum. Falkirk knock on at the line and then concede a free kick that Millar clears to 3m from halfway. They initially catch and drive before going wide where they again go close but Dods steals it in a tackle, only to knock it on.
The first half comes to a close with Falkirk getting a penalty 28m out which looks good enough that their players turn away to go back to the restart, only to then come off the post.
Half time comes with Falkirk smiling with an 8-3 lead, and Gala supporters not nearly as cheery.
Pettie on for McQuillin at half time.
Falkirk knock on at the restart is not picked up, but we then get a penalty 26m out that Millar kicks to make it 8-6.
The first decent break from our backs with ball in hand comes as Dick dummies the first tackler and breaks clear, neatly does a backhand pass to Dods and we are up to their 22, only for a penalty against us for jersey pulling, and they clear the pressure.
45 played and we steal at the breakdown as they are attacking and when Dods passes it out we move it wide where new recruit Walton makes hard work for himself but manages to keep going and hands off to break clear to go all the way and show why he was in the team this week. Millar converts to give us the lead at 8-13.
Falkirk are soon on the attack again but Livingston gets hands on for a near intercept despite the clear jersey pulling (no penalty) but knocks it on when tugged harder.
Their next serious attack almost gets through and is stopped by Dick intercepting a pass as he runs back to defend, and takes a high tackle for his efforts, only to have the ref wave play on. Maybe feeling a bit guilty he then gives us a free kick at the scrum when they knock on and we clear to touch.
58 played and a Falkirk scrum on their 10m sees a solid Gala scrum disrupt a planned move and trap their 9 to win the ball back to counter. We get the ball to Livingston on their 22 and he is bundled to touch 10m out. Falkirk counter from their lineout and are dumped to touch on our 10m line, but somehow get the throw as well. From this they mount a big surge and only some serious scramble defence keeps them out, and wins us a penalty to clear.
3 minutes later we get a free kick at a lineout and skelp it into their 22. When they reply we run it back and move it wide to take it into their 22 where we get a penalty advantage. With the supporters screaming to take the points the guys on the park make a brave call to go for it, and eventually break through for Livingston to be running round for the touchdown. Millar converts to make it 8-20.
15 to go and the get a penalty for a high tackle that hit 6 inches lower than the one Dick suffered. Tap and go by their 9, and another penalty as they move it wide and Emond deliberately knocks-on on our 22. Kick to make it 11-20.
3 minutes later their 8 is almost into the corner as 5 would be tacklers fall off him, but Millar gets to him in time and they are bundled into touch inside 5m. We secure the ball and clear to our 22 where their jumper has to use his outside hand to reach the ball, but play on and they move it wide after a couple of rucks cross to make it 16-20 as the conversion misses.
Great take by Dods at the restart and it is driven on into their 22 to 15m out losing the penalty advantage. We try to move it wide but forward pass stops us in tacks. Falkirk clear and then steal our line to launch a counter attack, only for Young to intercept and run it in for a demoralising score. Millar converts to make it 16-27.
Having not expected much the Maroons support start to think about a bonus point and it looks like it might happen in the 76th as Walton breaks through only to slip on their 22 trying to round the last man. We keep it tight from there and get to 10m out only to turn it over. Falkirk run it back at us and we pick up 2 injuries with the hits being put in to stop them. Once injuries cleared they get going again, only to have Walton intercept this time and run it in from 55m for the bonus point try. Millar converts to make it 16-34.
Into injury time and a last penalty to our hosts is a tap and go only to knock on, Stewart picks up and breaks only to knock it on trying to offload. Falkirk try to counter but when they put a grubber in behind Graham (9) is there to pick up and put it to touch to bring the final whistle for a good 16-34 win.
A Johnston, L Roden, E McQuillin, G Graham, O Palepoi, G Haurua, S Cairns, E Dods, G Graham, B Dick, R Livingston, A Emond, M Walton, G Young, L Millar
Subs : L Pettie, P Stewart, D Marshall, I Ross