Gala stemmed a morale-sapping flow of debilitating defeats with a fully-deserved win over Glasgow Hawks at Netherdale on Saturday to offer their fans hope of vacating the second bottom position in the championship table.

Hawks, who showed stiff resistance against both Melrose and Ayr this month, might reasonably have expected to win at Netherdale given Gala’s record since 5th September of eight defeats and one draw, except that Saturday was the day that Gala chose to implement their survival plan.

In the event Gala fully deserved their win such was their superiority in the forwards battle and in their ability to make line-breaks, aided by Hawks below-par defence. “We didn’t have a tackle edge today and that’s really important. I would say that was the most disappointing and frustrating feature of our game. Our first up tackles were not low enough.” admitted Hawks’ coach, Peter Lavery.

Hawks were unfortunate to lose their experienced stand-off Jack Steele with a shoulder injury early in the second quarter but his replacement, 18 year-old Josh Henderson, posted a confident display to suggest that the former Strathallan player has a bright future in senior rugby.

Equally encouraging was the performance of 18 year-old number 8 Bruce Flockhart, another graduate of Strathallan. “Bruce is an outstanding prospect. He played for Glasgow in the A game last week. For 18 he’s a solid customer and he’s a good athlete.” said Lavery.

For their part Gala were undoubtedly helped by the presence in their front row of the Edinburgh prop, Alan Dell, who scored two first half tries from driven line-outs and had a significant hand in creating two of Gala’s three second half tries scored by full back Graham Spiers and winger Frankie Robson. Gala’s fifth try was by replacement back row Josh Irvine.

If Dell was influential then so too was scrum half Paddy Boyer for Hawks. The former Highland half back’s pace created all of Hawks tries, for lock Andy Linton in the first half and then after the break for wing Pierre Mournal and on the stroke of full time for Henderson. Mournal converted the first two of Hawks’ try but missed the conversion of their third to deny the Anniesland club what would have been a deserved bonus point