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Garnock Defeat Stewartry

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Garnock Defeat Stewartry

Reported by Tom Dickson

Last Saturday Garnock entertained Stewartry at Lochshore. The weather was dismal with strong winds and heavy showers set to disrupt Garnock’s natural running style. However, they produced another rewarding performance to keep them amid the title favourites.

The game started with Stewartry kicking off towards the town end of Lochshore and assisted with the strong winds. They forced themselves well inside the Garnock 22 metre area and almost scored in the first minute. Stout defence by the Garnock pack gained them a 22 drop out.

A penalty awarded for offside allowed Keir Walker to kick to touch just a couple of metres from the Stewartry 22 line. The ball was duly won by Jonny Watson, the pack drove several metres and released the backs where Jordan Taggart rounded off the move by powering over at the posts. Walker’s conversion put Garnock in the lead at 7-0 after only 3 minutes play.

Stewartry rallied and for the next few minutes camped inside the Garnock half. A knock-on allowed Garnock to win the resulting scrum. The backs elected to run at their opposition and Taggart made 50 metres in a decisive break. From the breakdown Walker and Watson released Per Jacobson. The young winger had enough pace and strength to touchdown near the touchline. The difficult kick was missed but Garnock stretched their lead to 12 – 0 after 12 minutes.

The lead was extended in the 19th minute when Walker was quickest to react at a set scrum to dodge over for an opportunist try which he converted for a 19 – 0 Garnock lead.

Play settled for second part of the half with some good rugby being played by both squads despite the wind and rain.

Lineouts were being exchanged with neither side dominating but Garnock were beginning to get on top in the set scrums with their front row of James Gibb, Joe Chapman and Fraser Miller to the fore.

Stewartry almost opened their account when a clearance kick from Garnock was charged down only for the ball to bounce awkwardly into touch. The resulting 5 metre lineout was cleared by the Garnock pack.

Referee Ellison ended the half when Garnock were awarded a scrum on the halfway line.

The second half started with the rain increasing and the wind dropping to a strong gale. With the wind at their backs, Garnock forced their way well inside the Stewartry half.

Stewartry won a lineout through David Maxwell and aided with his pack drove towards the halfway line. A dropped pass allowed Garnock to rally and return to the opposition. Danny Irvine fielded the ball an made a telling burst. From the following play Lewis McGeachy gathered and swept aside “would-be” tacklers to burst over for a try in the 56th minute and the Try Bonus Point secured. The difficult kick was missed and Garnock stretched to 24 – 0.

With the conditions getting worse play actually got better and for 20 minutes,  quite exciting with neither side willing to give way. This resulted in end-to- end play.

It was no surprise that Stewartry scored. In the 77th minute, Stevie Hogg was in the right place to score near the posts after Stewartry had put together several phases to breach the home defence. The conversion was goaled by John Picken to show 24 – 7 on the scoreboard with time almost up.

From the restart Garnock gathered and fed to Jared Reekie who out-paced any cover to score. The conversion was missed but Garnock were further in front at 29 – 7.

Again, from the restart Garnock fielded the ball and sped towards the Stewartry line. An illegal tackle on the Garnock attacker, who looked sure to score, allowed the referee to award a Penalty Try.

The game finished on this note with Garnock comfortable winners at 36 – 7.

The Garnock squad was Miller (F), Chapman, Gibb, Watson, McGeachy, Miller (A), Johnston, Shiells, Walker, Perry, Trodden, Taggart, Reekie, Woods, Jacobson. Subs Wynn, O’Neill, Loach and Irvine

Next Saturday Garnock have no game due to international fixtures. Their next game is against league leaders East Kilbride at Calderglen Country Park G75 0QZ on 16th March.

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