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Garnock go down to defeat despite hat trick

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Mattie’s Hat Trick

Saturday saw Garnock make the short trip to Glasgow to Hansel in the New Year with a game against the league leaders in the form of Glasgow Accies.

In cold, damp conditions on a heavy pitch, Garnock kicked off and were immediately forced to defend when they conceded a penalty in the first minute. Accies stand off, Chris Rhodes, punted the ball some 50 metres into touch. They won the Garnock put in and drove towards the try line. Again Garnock were penalised for offside and from 35 metres Rhodes goaled the kick putting Accies 3 – 0 in front after only2 minutes.

Accies were determined to run the ball at every occasion and scored the first try of the match after a good handling movement involving all of the backs was rounded off when Ross Cowan dotted down near the posts. Rhodes converted and after 5 minutes Accies stretched out to 10 – 0 in the lead.

From the restart Garnock took the play inside the Accies half with the forwards in the ascendancy. They were rewarded with a penalty and chose to kick for position well inside the Accies half but the touch kick was missed. Seizing the opportunity, the home backs ran the ball back at Garnock from well inside their 22 metre area and Angus McCallum rounded off the move with a try in the corner. The conversion was missed as Accies moved 15 – 0 after 6 minutes.

The game settled down for the next 5 minutes and the Garnock pack forced the game inside the Accies half allowing their threequarter to show some attacking quality. Chris Neill and Ross Johnston were prominent in these forays but it was left to the forwards to power the way towards the try line where Matt Shiells forcing his way over the home try line. The conversion was missed and Garnock were on the scoreboard at 15 – 5 after 12 minutes.

Play swung from end to end but it wasn’t until the 21st minute that the score altered when Neill converted a penalty from 30 metres to make it 15 – 8 after 21 played.

The rest of the first half saw Accies at their best and they ran in a further three tries before the break. Centre Stewart scored two tries as he rounded of strong running moves in the 28th and 35th minutes. Winger Frazer Wilson scored on the stroke of half time. This was converted by Rhodes to make the score 32 – 8 for Glasgow Accies at half time.

The second half saw Garnock come more into the game as an attacking unit but Accies were always dangerous on the break and they ran in a further three tries.

For 20 minutes of the second half Garnock more than matched the free running Accies squad and were unlucky not to be rewarded with any score. Prominent for the visitors in the backs were Reekie and Andrew Mitchell.

In the 62nd minute, Garnock won a penalty and Rory Walker kicked for position at the Accies 5 metre line. Johnny Watson won the lineout. The pack drove towards the try line and powered their way over for Shiells to score his second try of the day. Neill converted to make the score 32 – 15.

This seemed to spur Glasgow to greater effort and they scored tries in the 70th minute through Craig Wright and scrum half Josh Waldin in the 73rd and 76th minutes. Rhodes converted two and the score moved on to 51 – 15 with time running out.

Garnock had the final score when they again showed their dominance in the close forward phase of the game when they drove the Accies pack some 20 metres back and Mattie Shiells rounded off his day to score his third try half way out towards the touchline. The conversion was missed and the game brought to a close with Glasgow Accies comfortable winners at 51 – 20.

From the start of this game there was only going to be one dominant side. Glasgow were a well drilled side with a set of fast threequarters who were always going to run the ball at Garnock. With a good supply of the ball they scored eight tries to Garnock’s three. Accies tackling was sound in defence.

Garnock did show that their pack can compete with the best in this league.

Next Saturday, 16th January, Garnock play fellow relegation candidates Kilmarnock at Lochshore with a 2 o’clock kick off.

Report by T Dickson

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