Gala 29, Selkirk 6

Maroons in the driving seat as injury-hit Selkirk unable to find top gear


BREAK-OUT. Selkirk openside Denver Rumney launches a break upfield, watched by team-mates Rory Aglen and Neil Darling, during Saturday's Premier 2 match against Gala at Netherdale. (Picture: Grant Kinghorn)

GALA gained revenge for three successive defeats at the hands of Selkirk with a convincing victory over their old rivals at Netherdale on Saturday. More importantly, this win eases the Maroons away from the Premier 2 relegation zone, at the same time pushing the Souters perilously close to bottom spot in the table.
Already hit by the absence of injured threequarters Michael McVie, David Cassidy and Scott Hendrie, the visitors' cause was further hampered when centre Alistair Dickson hobbled to the sidelines in the 25th minute with a hamstring pull.
Up until that point Selkirk had matched Gala in terms of possession and territory, with the visiting pack proving particularly strong at the scrummage, where the Maroons' eight found themselves under pressure right from the word go.
Playing towards the scoreboard end with a slight breeze at their backs, Selkirk had the chance to open the scoring as early as the second minute, when Alister Heatlie's line-out take and drive resulted in Gala being penalised for coming in from the side. Guy Blair's penalty kicked drifted just wide.
Soon afterwards Denver Rumney and Neil Darling combined to stop a Gala drive up the grandstand touchline, and when the home player was penalised for not releasing the ball, Dickson's monstrous line-kick took play to within 10 metres of the home try line.
Although losing the line-out, Selkirk regained possession and were awarded a penalty at the subsequent ruck. This time Blair made no mistake from in front of the posts, putting the visitors 3-0 ahead in the 14th minute.
Good runs by home wings Ross Livingston and Shaun Law took Gala deep into Selkirk territory, and when the visitors were penalised this allowed Marc Playfair to step up and thump over a penalty to tie the scores.
Selkirk regained the lead in the 25th minute when Blair sent over his second successful penalty, but the visitors paid a high price for this advantage, with Dickson pulling up with a hamstring injury in the build-up. The former pro. player took no further part in the game, being replaced at centre by Michael Jaffray (his 425th senior appearance for the club).
Moments later Gala's Chris Lawson was just squeezed out at the corner flag following a counter-attack up the grandstand touchline, and it was left to Denver Rumney to relieve the pressure with a typically dogged run out of defence.
After 33 minutes the Maroons were penalised for illegally taking down Selkirk's jumper at a line-out, but Blair's kick went wide. Back came Gala, and after Selkirk had lost their own scrum ball under the shadow of their own posts, Lee Kibble cleverly dummied his way through a clutch of defenders to score the game's first try. Andy McLean converted. Shortly afterwards the halftime whistle blew, with Gala 10-6 in front.
Early in the second period a quickly taken tap penalty by Heatlie resulted in Gala being penalised at the next ruck, but Blair's long-range penalty attempt fell just short.
For the next eight minutes Gala had the visitors on the rack, with Kibble stopped inches from the line following a wave of assaults. The breakthrough eventually came when Selkirk knocked on at the base of a scrum, and from the next set piece Gala's livewire openside Roddy Grant picked up and drove over for a try.
At this point Grant's opposite number, Denver Rumney, had to be helped from the field with a suspected broken collar bone (later diagnosed at the BGH as a damaged rotator cuff). His place at flanker was taken by skipper Darren Hoggan, with Ian Walling coming off the bench to take over at hooker.
With Selkirk's defence now beginning to creak, it wasn't long before Shaun Law increased the home side's lead by slicing through for a try under the posts, converted by McLean, to give the Maroons a healthy 22-6 lead.
Soon afterwards Selkirk's Neil Darling was yellow-carded for a late challenge, and Gala rubbed salt in the Souters' wounds by securing a try-scoring bonus point thanks to Lee Kibble's second touchdown of the match, converted by McLean, to make the final scoreline 29-6.

SELKIRK - G. Blair, C. Hunter, A. Lyall, A. Dickson, B. Armstrong, G. Craig, L. Jones, A. McDowall, D. Hoggan, M. Murray, M. Adamczewski, R. Aglen, N. Darling, D. Rumney, A. Heatlie. Replacements - R. Taylor, I. Walling, G. Patterson, M. Jaffray.

Referee - A. Hepburn (Glasgow).