Cross rues errors as Accies beaten by buoyant Gala
Accies had battled back from conceding an early try to lead after half an hour. But they wilted as the Borderers turned up the heat and capitalised on the home side’s mistakes, building a comfortable lead by half time and eventually running out 36-16 winners to claim pole position in the league table.
“I was frustrated with the amount of mistakes we made again. Those mistakes cost us tries,” said Cross, referring to two fumbles from restarts and twice failing to protect lineout ball – all of which led to tries for Gala. “It was the kind of thing we got away with last year,” he added.
While stopping short of overt criticism of the match officials, he also hinted at frustration among the coaches and players of both sides at the way the set pieces were controlled, although Cross conceded that any shortcomings in that department did not contribute to the eventual outcome.
“I’m a mild mannered guy – it takes a lot to get me wound up but I felt the frustration of the players,” he said. “But we didn’t deserve to win that game anyway so it wasn’t a match decider.”
The sides had enjoyed two hard-fought encounters last season as both secured promotion to the top flight. Since then, Accies – who came up as champions – have found the going tough while Gala have built on a successful start to the campaign and are now oozing confidence.
That was evident in their opening score which featured pace, dexterity and belief as Lee Millar chipped ahead and won the race to the line. Accies countered with a bullocking run from Greg Campbell that saw him power over at the corner to square matters. The hosts wasted a three on one overlap before Stuart Evans booted a penalty to ease them into the lead. And, although Craig Robertson squeezed in at the corner, Evans was on target again to give Accies an 11-10 lead which they retained until a quickfire double from Euan Dods, the second of them converted by Millar which saw Gala into the break with a 22-11 lead.
Pugnacious scrum half George Graham was next on the score sheet, pouncing on another lineout error for try number five and Russell Anderson burrowed over to claim a sixth touchdown – Millar converting both for a 36-11 advantage entering the final quarter.
And, while there was no way back, Cross could take some consolation that the expansive style his players are keen to produce was behind swift ball transfer that allowed winger Jake Knight the opportunity to blaze down the flank for the final score of the afternoon.
The coach said of the desire to move the ball wide: “It was the players who decided this is the way they want to play. The coaches are just trying to facilitate that. We’ve got a light pack. They are very fit and very skilful, so it doesn’t make sense to try and play any other way. We just have to find a way of winning games.”
With matches against Melrose and Currie completing the pre-split programme, Accies face a tall order to make the top eight. Cross will go into those matches looking to reduce the error count and generate some momentum, which will be essential if the second half of the season turns into a battle to secure a slot in next season’s ten team top flight.
However, the coach remains confident that he can find a solution to the current situation. “I’m a fairly pragmatic coach so I know there will be a reason why things aren’t working, so I’ll sit down with the players and go through the video. We’ll work through it,” he insisted.
Scorers: Edinburgh Accies: Tries: G Campbell, Knight. Pens: Evans (2). Gala: Tries:Dods (2), Millar, Robertson, Geo Graham, Anderson. Cons: Millar (3)
Edinburgh Accies: J Sole, M Coupar, R Brown, I Berthinussen, J Knight, S Evans, M Campbell, D Morrison, M Liness, L Niven, G Campbell, D Teague, C Reid, J Taggart, T Drennan. Subs Used: S Jeffers, K Blyth, N Pike, A Lamb, R Bonner.
Gala: B Turner, S Law, C Auld, A Emond, C Robertson, L Millar, G Graham, L Bertram, R Anderson, E McQuillin, C Weir, O Palepoi, D Marshall, G Lowrie, E Dods. Subs Used: J Gilding, C Keddie, G Graham, A McLean, C Borthwick.