Garnock played a friendly match against West 2s on Tuesday evening on the 4G pitch at Burnbrae.
There were a few players unavailable due to work commitments and injuries however a squad of 19 made the short trip. The squad saw the return after many weeks of Danny Irvine, Cammy Perry and Ian Loach.
The 4G surface at Burnbrae provides excellent underfoot conditions and a fast open game was anticipated.
The Garnock coaches were keen to see the recent improvements continue and the principles that have been worked on reinforced.
Following kick off it quickly became apparent that this was a well drilled and talented West team with plenty of power in the forwards and pace in the backs.
Both teams were trying to run the ball when the correct occasions arose and to kick for territory when appropriate. In the early stages defences were on top with few tackles being missed. With ten minutes gone Matthew Shiells forced his way over the line from close range for the opening score.
Five minutes later a handling error in the backs at halfway allowed the West centre to hack the ball forward and over the line before winning the race for the touch down. The first period ended with game tied at 5-5
The pattern of play in the second period was similar to the first with no quarter asked or given . Garnock added to their points with a smart try by Keir Walker around the base of a ruck and West brought the scores level again following a smart backline move.
At halftime the score remained tied at 10-10.
The second half continued in the same manner as the first with both defences holding firm. The Garnock lineout was secure and the scrum steady giving the backs a decent platform to work from. With only 10 minutes remaining Garnock worked their way upfield to the West 22 and Ian Loach crossed the line for Garnock’s third try.
Garnock we clearly on top in the forward exchanges by this time and with the last play of the game Matthew Shiells scored the final points.
The match finished with Garnock victors by 20-10. This friendly was a useful exercise in the team’s development and further reinforced the patterns of play required. It was also a good workout for some of our returning players with Danny Irvine putting in a good 60 minute shift. Unfortunately Cammy Perry’s return was short-lived having to retire with a knee problem after only 10 minutes. It is hoped this is only a minor niggle and not a recurrence of his longer term injury.
All in all this was an excellent all round team performance which was enjoyed by the small group of supporters on the touchline.
Thanks go to our hosts , West, for agreeing to the fixture at short notice. We wish them all the best for the remainder of the season.