Glasgow Hawks 16 Gala 13
Try:Penalty try 80+
Pen:Steele 6, 22, 61
Try: Bertram 60
Pen:O’Hagan 9, 23
Hawks gathered an extremely valuable 4 league points with a last minute penalty try which reflected the character and grit of the whole team. The match ended with a farcical 13 minutes in which the pack kept Gala under extreme pressure before gaining a deserved 5 points which won the game.
The match had been a dour low scoring affair in a match marked by a lot of effort but very little enterprise. The filthy weather conditions were to be endured and had an enormous influence on both sides whose previous encounter on a dry day had brought 5 tries.
Hawks had the better of the early play as Jack Steele put over a penalty in the 6th minute to take the early lead. (3-0)
From the restart Hawks looked lively and George Horne seemed likely to score as he broke through the Gala defence and seemed to be clear. It was disappointing to then hear the referee’s whistle as the stand-off was called back for a penalty. David O’Hagan stepped up to tie the scores just before 10 minutes. (3-3)
Gala were under pressure from the rotating Hawks front row with Brendan Cullinane and Gary Strain putting them under the cosh at every scrum along with Steven Findlay rotating as part of a front row which dominated it’s opponents. The conditions did not offer the opportunity to use this platform and a further exchange of penalties by Steele and O’Hagan in 21 and 22 minutes was the only further score in the half. (6-6)
The second half saw Gala spend a lot of time playing the game in the home 22. But they simply couldn’t get through the Hawks defence and despite being on the back foot for long periods the Glasgow side seemed to be able to cope.
Gala were to pull ahead on the hour when they eventually succeeded in crossing the hawks line when prop Lewis Bertram went over following a catch and drive from a lineout which O’Hagan converted. (6-13)
There was “clear blue water” between the sides for the first time but Steele was accurate with the boot narrowing the gap to 4 points with a penalty from the restart. (9-13)
The clock was winding down and Hawks were just not getting close to the try line and there was a feeling that it would be hard to score two penalties. Gala appeared to be good to hold on to the lead and crush Hawks hopes when the home side were held up over the line and awarded a 5 metre scrum. The referee had indicated that there was 4 minutes left to play and the scrum was set, Gala conceded the penalty, the first of 5 consecutive penalties which saw the scrum set 9 times and the teams were in the corner for 13 minutes. Gala were under extreme pressure and there were grumblings in the home support that the referee was going to “bottle” the award of a penalty try. Paddy Boyer showed superb patience and discipline in making sure that he gave the referee no reason to award Gala a penalty.
When the penalty try was eventually awarded it was no less than the pack deserved for a gargantuan effort and with Steele adding the conversion Hawks took a very valuable 4 points. (16-13)