Aberdeen Grammar made a losing start to their league campaign but can be encouraged by scoring four tries and being within one converted try of upsetting Gala at Rubislaw.
With four minutes remaining, Grammar scored the fourth of their tries when lock Aaron Robertson went over. When new stand off Bryn Perrott kicked his fourth conversion, it was game-on for the home side and an opportunity to win a game that looked beyond them.
But the Netherdale men rallied to take the play away from Grammar and almost deprived the Rubislaw men their losing bonus point with the last kick of the game, but stand off Gregor Hunter pushed a penalty attempt at goal wide of the posts.
Grammar coach Ali O’Connor hailed his side’s comeback in rallying from 34-14 down with only 20 minutes to play.
He said: “This was a performance to be proud of considering we had so many new faces in the team. Once we get them bedded in we will surprise teams.
“Picking up two bonus points against a team such as Gala is most encouraging. With a little bit of luck we could have gone on to win but ruined our chances by giving away too many penalties at key moments. It’s an encouraging start for us. We had a pack that never let Gala settle.”
Gala made a strong start, racing into a 12-point lead through tries from lock Chris Weir and winger Scott Wilkinson, the second one converted by Hunter. Grammar then got the measure of the Borderers, hitting back with tries by scrum half Andrew Ovenstone and centre Nat Coe, who marked his debut with a bulldozing effort. With Perrott kicking both conversions, Grammar led 14-12.
But they failed to lead at half time after giving away a penalty which Gala gladly accepted.
And the Netherdale men made a storming start to the second half with tries by Graham Speirs, Wilkinson and Craig Russell, two of which were converted by the reliable Hunter.
At 34-14 down Grammar looked out of it but, to their credit, they came back – firstly with a try from winger Matt Arnold and then Robertson’s late effort, but it was just not enough.
O’Connor took the positives after witnessing something to build on and said: “We will travel to Selkirk in the best of heart for the next game but there’s work to be done.”
© Jack Nixon
Aberdeen Rugby: Doug Russell; Callum Ruxton, Murray Mitchell, Nat Coe, Matt Arnold; Bryn Perott, Andrew Ovenstone; Rob Ellinson (c), Andrew Cook, Ross Anderson; Aaron Robertson, Drew Whitehead; Christian Brew, Alec Dravitski, Greig Ryan.
Replacements: Calum Reddish, Lewis Govanlock. Jordan Robertson, Tommy Morrison.
Gala: Graham Speirs (c): Scott Wilkinson, Rex Jeffrey, Alan Emond, Craig Russell; Gregor Hunter, Lachlan Johnston; Chris Keen, Lewis Roden, Terry Logan; Chris weir, Blair Reavely; Richard Tod, Fraser Welsh, Stephen cairns.
Replacements: P Stewart, C Pate, John Turnbull, D Wilkinson.