Garnock Fall Just Short At Fort Matilda
As Reported by Allan McTaggart
Last Saturday Garnock travelled to meet Greenock Wanderers for a West Div.1 match, trying for a double having triumphed at Lochshore in October. With both sides in contention for promotion a tight game was expected. Greg Matthew was welcomed back to the squad after a three and half year absence.
The pitch was in excellent order after recent frost and snow and the home team had early pressure leading to a penalty for offside converted by standoff Guthrie. Garnock responded quickly after good forward drives with Keir Walker kicking a penalty from 40 yards, making the score 3-3 after 10 minutes.
The well drilled Greenock pack were looking strong, linking well with the backs and won several penalties in quick succession. From a short 5 metre penalty big second row Gray forced his way over the line for an opportunist try converted by Guthrie. Now down 10 points to 3 after 20 minutes, Garnock rallied well despite still kicking away too much hard earned possession.
However Keir Walker followed up a long kick ahead forcing the opposing fullback to concede a penalty on the 25 metre line which he converted.
Both teams now seemed equally matched heading towards the break then Garnock forwards Rory Dominy and Matt Shiells gained a lot of ground, releasing centre Jordan Taggart to sidestep two opponents and touch down for Walker to convert. Despite losing hooker Richard O’Neill through injury the visitors led 13-10 at halftime.
The second half started as end to end play with both teams trying to run the ball then Greenock centre Harrison jinked his way below the visitors posts , leading to a penalty after almost scoring a try in the left corner. With the scores now level after 55 minutes, Garnock had a chance to immediately retaliate but refused the option of a kick at goal by their in form kicker.Going for an attacking lineout they lost the ball, and Greenock were able to clear their lines.
Having then missed a longer penalty attempt, Garnock paid for their mistakes when the homesters dominated the next ten minutes, flanker Spriddle strolling over on an easy overlap with Guthrie converting the try plus a penalty to make the score 23-13 after 68 minutes play.
Greenock then had a player yellow carded, allowing the valley team to attack for the last ten minutes. After losing No 8 Rory Dominy injured, Garnock eventually succeeded with a corner lineout when captain Matt Shiells breenged over for an unconverted try.
Unfortunately they were unable to repeat this and the Greenock defence held out for a hard fought 23-18 victory.