A miserable day with gusty winds saw a poor crowd at Netherdale but competition with Six Nations rugby being televised during the afternoon did not assist support at this level.
The game kicked off at 2.30pm to try to finish before the televised Scotland game. Due to several injuries thanks to two very tough games against Heriots Blues Gala fielded a weakened team with some players playing out of position.
Within 4 minutes after sustained Stirling Wolves pressure deep in Gala territory, Calum MacPherson, Stirling second row forced over the line to touch down for the first try. This was converted by fly half, the Stirling captain, Jonny Hope. This took the score to Gala 0 Stirling Wolves 7.
The action transferred back and forward before after 21 minutes Ross Cooke, Gala full back, broke through and carried towards the Stirling line before passing to Fergus Johnston playing on the wing.
Fergus Johnston was tackled approaching the line but Gala recovered the ball which was spread through hands to the other wing where Ben Gill gathered and dived over the line to touch down in the corner. This was unconverted and narrowed the margin to Gala 5 Stirling Wolves 7.
Three minutes later Gala scrum half Simon Fairburn broke from inside his own half and with a fine jinking run he reached the Stirling 22 metre line before off loading to Fergus Johnston who avoided three Stirling defenders before touching down for Gala’s second try. This was unconverted and put Gala into the lead by 10 - 7.
Just before half time Gala were awarded a penalty inside the Stirling Wolves 22 and this was converted by Ross Cooke.
Half time Gala 13 Stirling Wolves 7.
Gala started the second half with Fergus Johnston collecting a defensive clearance kick which was passed to Gala Captain and centre Rex Jeffrey. He forced his way forward through the Stirling defence before off loading to Ben Gill who sprinted to the line to touch down for his second try. This was unconverted and took the score to Gala 18. Stirling Wolves 7.
Gala were feeling quite comfortable at this stage but they did not read the Stirling determination.
5 minutes into the second half, Stirling were awarded a penalty which was kicked to touch on Gala 5 metre line. Stirling took the ball in their line out and developed a rolling maul to force over the Gala line where it was touched down by their hooker Andrew Orr. This was not converted and took the score to Gala 18 Stirling Wolves 12.
Stirling were given a great opportunity by a very careless pass on the half way line. Johnny Hope was very grateful to accept the ball and sprinted unchallenged to score under the posts. He converted his own try. Stirling were now in the lead 18 - 19.
Stirling were not finished yet and after 28 minutes of the second half they were awarded a penalty 20 metres out from the posts. This was converted by Johnny Hope and gave Stirling a cushion of Gala 18 Stirling Wolves 22.
Gala could not find a way back and so the final score was Gala 18. Stirling Wolves 22.
This moves Stirling above Gala in the league while Gala slip from 5th to 7th. The next game for Gala is away to Watsonians on the 15th February followed by a home tie on 22nd February against Highland with a 3.00pm kickoff. Let’s hope for a revival of Gala success.