At 1015 on Saturday 7th December Gala Rugby set out from Netherdale to Dumbreck for their away game against Cartha Queens Park.
As the bus drove west leaving Edinburgh the rain started initially as drizzle but soon becoming very heavy and windy. The conditions were not ideal for rugby but there was worse to come when, on arrival at Dumbreck the muddy pitch came into view.
After inspection both teams agreed that although not ideal they would get the game played. The referee was heard to comment that he did not see the game completing if the rain continued.
The game was kicked off by Cartha kicking into the wind. Within 4 minutes Cartha were awarded a penalty which their No. 12 and centre converted to give Carthe a 3 point lead.
14 minutes later Cartha powered over the Gala line with the flanker, Calum Dickson touching down. This was converted by No. 12 Wayne Burroughs to give Cartha a 10 point lead.
Just as the second quarter started Gala were awarded a penalty which was converted by Dean Keddie, Gala fly half to get Gala on the scoresheet. This was cancelled out 5 minutes later when Dwayne Burroughs slotted over a Cartha penalty to take the score to Cartha 13. Gala. 3.
With 5 minutes of the first half to go Gala scrum half Lachlan Johnston took a quick penalty which he passed along the backs to the winger Fergus Johnston who dived over the line. This was converted by Dean Keddie to take the score to within three points.
Just on half time Gala were awarded a penalty which Dean Keddie again converted to give a half time score of Cartha 13. Gala 13.
The second half turned into a bit of a disaster for Gala who did not seem able to control play into the strong wind. There were several high kicks straight to the centre Wayne Burroughs who was the star of the day, and this only resulted in Gala putting themselves repeatedly under pressure.
Cartha scored from a penalty then after 54 minutes resulting from a successful Cartha rolling maul the prop, Mark Barrowman touched down over the line. This was unconverted and took the score to Cartha 21 Gala 13.
Wayne Burroughs added to Gala pain when he went over line to put Cartha in an unassailable position of 28 - 13.
Ten minutes later Gala managed to retaliate when the forwards managed to push the Cartha pack and Jack Chambers, the Gala substitute hooker successfully touched down over the line. This was unconverted but in the closing minutes Dean Keddie converted a penalty to take the final score to Cartha Q.P. 28. Gala 21 and to give Gala a losing bonus point thus keeping Gala 5th in the table.
This was a game where, without making excuses, the pitch was the controlling factor. The Cartha team were obviously accustomed to playing in the muddy field like conditions whereas Gala trained and played their home games on one of the best pitches in Scotland.
Next week we move on and welcome Highland to Netherdale for the last home game this side of Christmas.
This game will kick off at 3.pm and it would be great to see a big Gala contingent at Netherdale