Earlston were defeated 32-23 by Gala YM on Saturday as the hosts’ fifth successive victory in East Division 2 at Netherdale saw them remain in the top half the league and also win back the Jewson Cup from Earlston in a rousing game .
Gala took an early lead with a penalty goal from Struan Mitchell but this was quickly snuffed out with a similar effort by Earlston.
Good pressure in the Earlston 22 saw several close calls before quick ball from a ruck and a half break by Struan Mitchell sent Rhuary Horsburgh over for the try.
Struan Mitchell converted.
Earlston hit back with a second penalty goal to cut the deficit.
A penalty into the corner and good lineout work sent Blair Reavely powering over and Struan Mitchell added the extras .
Both sides lost a player to the sin bin but it was Earlston who fared better, as they scored a converted try just on the interval to make it 17-13 at the break .
Although Earlston had been on top in the lineouts, it was YM who were dominating the set scrums and, when YM went for the push over, the visitors offended and the referee awarded a penalty try.
YM went all out for the try bonus and were encamped on the Earlston 22 and Adrian Donoghue smashed his way over for an unconverted try and a 16-point lead.
Earlston kicked a third penalty goal as time ticked away.
The visitors scored a second try when the referee was unsighted to an Earlston dropped pass and, as YM’s defence stopped, the player regathered to score a converted try between the posts.
A late penalty goal in the last five minutes by Struan Mitchell sealed the game for YM and stopped Earlston getting a losing bonus point.
Man of the Match award went to Kieran Douglass for YM.
Earlston are now five losses and two wins from their opening seven matches, with Gala sitting fifth with five wins and two losses.