Dundee HSFP v Gala
3 February 2018
Dull, dour and dreich. Not just a description of the weather, but also of the game at Mayfield as two under-strength teams struggled in the entertainment stakes. Due to the early (12.15) kick-off, the teams changed at Dalnacraig, as the Mayfield changing rooms were being used for school matches and perhaps the combination of early start and different location disorientated a Dundee side which, even with the changes of personnel, played below its potential. This was nowhere more evident than in the set scrum, where Dundee were under severe pressure for the whole of the game.
A Harvey Young penalty attempt which hit the outside of the post was the nearest either side came to scoring in the first ten minutes. Indeed, it was the nearest either side came to scoring for over thirty minutes, with close-quarter contact rugby being the order of the day. Taking advantage of their scrum superiority, and their ability to shunt the home scrum back, Gala chose the scrum option when awarded a couple of penalties near the Dundee 22, but failed to convert the pressure into points. It was a little surprising, however, when a third similar opportunity was presented
and this time the kick at goal was the selection. Stand-off Keddie obliged, and the electronic scoreboard was brought into life. 0 – 3 after 33 minutes.
The lacklustre fare continued until half-time, with no further scoring.
Half-time: Dundee 0 Gala 3
A half to forget, which, fortunately, I have.
During the break, Dundee were exhorted to increase the energy and improve their accuracy, but in the event, it was Gala which began the brighter. Then, with the half some five minutes old, after Gala lost a line-out, Dundee moved the ball at pace and at last Ice found some clear space on the right and darted over to score. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the try sparked some hope in the Dundee support. Dundee 5 Gala 3
The optimism was not long-lived, however, as a penalty against Dundee five minutes later, allowed Gala to kick for touch and the resulting line-out was driven over for a Stewart try, converted by Keddie.
Dundee 5 Gala 10.
The penalty count was taking an all-too-familiar shape, and yet another against Dundee, some four minutes later, allowed Keddie to increase Gala’s lead: 5 – 13.
Then, with just over an hour played, a bright spot to raise the home support’ s morale. Starting with a fine break by Harvey Young, the ball was moved into the Gala red zone, with George’s help, before Harvey determinedly pressed on against the final Gala defence, to score. The conversion was missed, but Dundee were back within touching distance, at 10 – 13.
Another Keddie penalty put Gala 6 points ahead, but there was still hope for Dundee as they had perhaps their best spell of the game, exerting pressure on the Gala line. Penalties were their undoing again, however, but, with full-time approaching, there appeared a great chance to snatch a win when a superb break by Fraser McKay saw him burst clear, on his way to the Gala line and under the posts. Unfortunately the defence was just quick enough to grab him and the chance, and the game, was gone.
Full-time: Dundee 10 Gala 16
A dismal early afternoon performance which left the Dundee faithful frustrated, with the team failing to reach its potential, in a drab game punctuated with handling errors and penalties.
At least there was the prospect of watching Scotland kick-start their 6-Nations season with a good win in Cardiff. Oh dear.
Tries: Matacagi, Young
Dundee Man of the Match: Angus Farquar