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Currie :23 - Gala :28
A View from the Touchline – BT Premier League: 3.9.16

Currie 23 pts (t 3, c 1, pg 2) v Gala 28 pts (t 4, c 1, pg 2)

Early Currie promise did not materialise into points. Thanks to sheer hard work and a ‘no holes’ defence, Gala slowly established a healthy lead which was only threatened in the closing minutes of the match through a final Currie flourish; for the Malleny team it was unfortunate case of too little too late.

From the outset, a stocky business-like Gala team gave little away as Currie struggled to gain quick ball, create space and break down the visitors’ commendable defence. Graeme Clow and Gregor Hunter exchanged penalty goals and on ten minutes a speculative innocuous looking chip-kick resulted in an opportunistic try for the visitors; Craig Robertson chased, touched down, and Gregor Hunter converted.

Currie’s frequent attacks were labouring and could not penetrate a determined Gala defence; poor execution consistently let Gala off the hook and they easily cleared any danger. Two further penalty goals were added to both scores by Clow and Hunter before a midfield Currie mix-up let Ross Combe hack through for another simple kick-and-chase try that was not converted.

Halftime score – Currie 6 pts, Gala 18 pts

Currie looked a more cohesive unit as the second half got rolling. The pack drove for the line and Ross Weston went close, but the ball was held up. A re-run saw Hamish Bain crash over from the back of a well-organised maul for a try which restored some faith in a hitherto lack-lustre Currie performance; Graeme Clow converted, but the optimism was short lived.

Within minutes some impressive Gala handling pushed Currie back into their 22. The attack looked to have faltered, but the cover defence did not hold on to the ball carrier; Craig Robertson, legs pumping, forced his way over the line for an unconverted corner flag try. The visitors were now playing with determination and it was not long before they had secured the bonus point. Another faultless, well-orchestrated attack edged forward with Josh Irvine stretching for the line; the try was not converted.

As the match neared its conclusion, Currie, who had played well in parts, finally got everything working in unison. Charlie Shiel made a couple of probing runs and Gala looked vulnerable. His sweet pass to Matthew Hooks gave the big wing just enough room to score in the corner on 77 minutes. Two minutes later the Scotland U20 scrumhalf punted perfectly for Cammy Gray to catch and cross in the same corner; both tries were not converted, but Gala’s nerves were jangling!

From the restart, amid mounting excitement, Currie headed back into Gala territory; going through the phases, they were stretching the visitors’ resources in all directions to create space and the overlap. If the long difficult final pass had connected with its intended recipient, Currie would have been in for a remarkable score that could have snatched victory from Gala’s grasp.

As it was, Gala were worth their win; team spirit an uncompromising approach and their excellent work rate won the day. If Currie can get it all together, as they did in the last minutes of this match, they will start to undo teams in a very competitive Premier League. Next week we are away to Melrose at the Greenyards, KO 3.00pm. Another difficult assignment, but no games are easy if you want to remain in the BT Premiership. IJS, 4.9.16

Updated 04/09/2016 by Ian Gidney