Another sunny afternoon at Gala where although it was cold a good crowd attended to see if Gala could continue their winning run, this week the visitors were Ayr against whom Gala’s previous record was not good.
Prior to the kickoff both teams lined up for 30 seconds applause to commemorate the life of Bill Dods who died at the age of 80 years. Bill had been a stalwart Gala supporter most of his adult life albeit having played soccer in his youth. His interest in rugby had good reason to strengthen with his son David and the extraordinary careers of his nephews Peter and Michael. He sat on the Gala committee for a few years before ending up with Red Triangle working with the young lads and future players of Gala. He was immensely proud when his grandson Euan was appointed Captain of Gala.
This was a truly emotional day for Euan as he stood with the whole Gala crowd to applaud his Grandad’s life.
The game was kicked off by Ayr and Gala immediately put their stamp on the match with powerful, attacking rugby which after 4 minutes [ID1] and continued backs dominance and a good handling move saw the ball go out to young Fergus Johnston who dodged two tackles before scoring in the corner. This was converted by Ross Cooke, Gala winger to take the score to Gala 7 Ayr 0.
In 17 minutes from a penalty in front of the posts Ross Cooke increased Gala’s lead to 10 - 0.
There was a lack of scoring until in the 31st minute Ayr converted a penalty to bring the score to 10 - 3.
Ayr were settling down and the game was much more equal with both sides showing some good rugby.
In injury time of the first half following a Gala scrum the home side took good possession and the ball was passed through the backs to the full back Ruairi Howarth who after a brilliant jinking run avoided the Ayr defence and scored by the posts. This was converted by Ross Cooke to take the half time score to Gala 17 Ayr 3.
Gala started the second half with skill and strength and after only 7 minutes they were awarded a penalty within the Ayr 22 meters. Euan Dods, Gala no. 8 and Captain opted for the scrum and young Lachlan Johnston at scrum half, gathered at the back of the scrum passed it to his brother Fergus on the blind side allowing him to score in the corner. This was unconverted and took the score to Gala 22 Ayr 3.
Six minutes later after a clever interception by Ruairi Howarth on the Gala 22 he spectacularly ran the full length of the pitch outpacing 5 of the Ayr defenders to score in the corner. An excellent solo try greatly appreciated by the spectators, particularly those from Gala. Ross Cooke crowned the try by a long range and difficult conversation to take the score to Gala 29 Ayr 3. This being Gala’s fourth try they had now earned a bonus point.
Four minutes later in midfield the ball was passed out by scrum half Lachlan Johnston to Ruairi Howarth who again showed an incredibly sophisticated rugby brain as he picked his way through the defence at speed before passing to Liam Scott, the Gala flanker, who showed good upper body strength to force over the line and score under the posts. This was converted by Ross Cooke to take the tally to Gala 36 Ayr 3.
Ayr were not to be outdone and in 72 minutes following a break from their own line out, the ball went to their winger Zac Howard to score Ayr’s first try, this was converted by their excellent centre J Bova.
Two minutes later following an interception by the Ayr substitute Jack Rennie he crossed the line under the posts and rounded it off by converting his own try.
The final score was Gala 36. Ayr. 17.
Next week Gala travel to Dundee and the following week, on the 23rd November it is back at Netherdale where Gala host their neighbours and rivals Melrose. Please come along to give Gala your support in this big local derby. They may even return the Gala posts.