Aberdeen Grammar crashed to a fourth consecutive defeat on National League 1 duty at home to Border side Gala.
The visitors did just enough to take the spoils in a poor game at Rubislaw on a day tailor made for good rugby.
It took nearly an hour for the first try as both sides battled like two clubs fearful of being relegated.
For captain and stand-off Sam Knudson it was not a game to remember and he knows his side has to find a response following a disappointing run. Saturday’s home loss was Grammar’s fourth defeat in a row and Knudson knows the run has to change. He said: “There were too many unforced errors. I reckon we all made at least two apiece. It’s most disappointing.
“We’ll just need to knuckle down, and prepare ourselves for Hamilton next week.”
Head coach Ali O’Connor was similarly deflated, agreeing with his captain’s assessment of what was a hugely frustrated afternoon at Rubislaw.
The dejected Grammar coach said: “Unlike our recent high scoring games, this was a flat performance. We can have no complaints, but will need to get our game in place for the heavier grounds to come in the weeks ahead.”
As a spectacle the game never got off the ground, not helped by Gala being unable to give the Rubislaw side a list of players before the game, compounded by the inability of the home side to provide an announcer to let the long-suffering home crowd know who was playing in the maroon jerseys.
The home support were, however, able to recognise and acknowledge the contribution veteran Gala player coach Opeta Palpoi made when he entered the fray after only 15 minutes as a replacement before leaving the field of play with a shoulder injury, but not before he had marshalled his side to a gutsy win.
Palepoi’s involvement was telling.
He said: “It’s a hard place to come and win.
“We are really pleased to be going back to Gala with four points. They were hard earned.”
The Samoan internationalist was being too kind to Grammar who, apart from Greig Ryan the home No 8 and winger Nat Coe, had no one to match the efforts of the Gala team.
The visitors never lost sight of having to keep control of the ball when in possession and made better use of the following wind in the second half, leading to two late tries scored by winger John Turnbull. One of his tries was converted by stand-off Dean Keddie, who also swapped penalties with Grammar full-back Bryn Perrott in the first 10 minutes of a lacklustre game which petered out until the 59th minute when Grammar’s German internationalist Matthias Schosser burrowed over in the corner.
It set Schosser up for his country’s warm-up game against Portugal on Wednesday before Germany take on Canada, Hong Kong and Kenya in a bid to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
Schosser said: “It was disappointing not to have gone to France for the game with a win under my belt, but we didn’t really deserve it.”
© Jack Nixon