Garnock Hit Half Century
Reported by Tom Dickson
Newly promoted Strathendrick were the visitors to Lochshore last Saturday. Last season they were prolific scorers in winning their league but were finding Division 1 to be tougher having won only two of their four games played.
Garnock kicked off towards the town end of Lochshore showing that they wanted to continue playing open rugby. Only stout defending prevented Rory Dominy from opening the scoring in the first minute after he burst through at the Strathendrick 22 line.
The visitors came back at Garnock and broke out inside their own half and progressed well inside the Garnock half. Their right winger Ruairdh Macaughlin looked likely to score but Ben Trodden chased and tackled him at the 22-metre line. Danger averted !
On the 10-minute mark, Strathendrick went ahead when stand-off Sam Greenock kicked a penalty after Garnock were caught offside at a ruck to make it 0-3.
This was the wake-up call Garnock needed. When Matt Shiells was stopped after a typical Shiells charge of 30 metres, the ball was quickly recycled through the hands of Ewan Perry, Danny Irvine and Jared Reekie who evaded the cover defence to score well out. The conversion was missed but the score showed Garnock in the lead at 5-3 after 14 minutes.
Play swung from end to end for the next period of play with neither side looking like scoring but the level of play was attractive to the spectators.
Garnock were awarded a penalty and kicked for touch near the Strathendrick 22 line. The ball was recycled to Luke Wynn who swept his way to the try line, brushing away the defenders to score in a similar manner as he did last week. The conversion was missed to put Garnock 10-3 in front.
With half time looming Strathendrick showed how fluent they could be in attack. With Garnock surging towards the visitors’ goal line, the ball was dropped and gifted to the Strathendrick backs who sped upfield. They interpassed the ball and centre Craig Mundell dotted down near the posts. The kick was successful and, with the score tied at 10 all, half time was called.
Garnock started the second half with a bang scoring three tries in the first 15 minutes of the half.
The first came when the Garnock pack won a scrum on the Strathendrick 22 line, drove forward and No.8 Dominy powered over to score near the posts. Perry converted to make it 17-10 after 42 minutes.
The second came in the 45th minute. Strathendrick were caught offside, Perry cleared to half way and Garnock won the lineout. The ball was fed to the backs and Reekie repeated his magic to score at the posts. Perry converted to push Garnock further ahead at 24-20 with the try Bonus Point secured.
The third was a carbon copy of the first. At this stage Garnock were dominating the set scrums and it was no surprise when, awarded a scrum 35 metres out, they elected to drive forward some 30 metres to give Dominy the chance to peel off and score his second try at the posts. Again, Perry converted and the score moved on to 31-10.
Play settled down to mid-field exchanges but with Garnock in control. Lineouts were going Garnock’s way with Jonny Watson and Lewis McGeachie dominant. The set scrums were also going Garnock’s way with the front row of Wynn, Aaron Armstrong and Shiells much too strong for the Strathendrick three.
With this edge tries were bound to be scored.
Reekie completed his hattrick in the in the 69th minute when he rounded off a good sweeping Garnock movement to score in the corner. The kick was missed to make the score 36-10.
With five minutes remaining Garnock won a lineout on the halfway line. This time the forwards decided that they could pass the ball every bit as good as the backs. They powered forward with the back-row swapping passes to release Shiells at the right moment. The powerful prop crashed through tackles to score well out. Perry converted and the scoreboard read 43-10.
In the last play before time up Garnock came up with a great passage of rugby. All the threequarters were involved in a fast piece of fast running rugby. It was left to Reekie to score the last try at the posts to give Perry his easiest conversion of the day to give Garnock a win of 50 points to 10 against a Strathendrick side who never gave up but just met a much better squad.
The Garnock squad was along familiar lines of Wynn, Armstrong, Shiells, Watson, McGeachie, Wilson, Miller DR, Dominy, Trodden, Perry, Lee, Irvine, Reekie, Spears, Woods, Gibb, Miller A and Miller J.
Next Saturday (13th) Garnock travel to East Kilbride to play the league leaders in a 3 o’clock start.