Garnock Lose in the West
Garnock Lose in the West (as reported by Tom Dickson)
Garnock travelled to Oban to complete their league matches in Division I West for season 2016/2017. The local team, Oban Lorne, were struggling in the league and close to the relegation zone but were in the semi-final of the West District Shield and a close match was forecast.
Garnock travelled with a squad comprising five teenagers and an average age of just under 22 – a fact that bodes well for the future of the club.
Garnock kicked off in dismal conditions and immediately attacked the home try line. They were awarded a lineout 15 metres out, won the throw in but were penalised for offside by the referee. This reversal allowed Oban to clear their lines and force Garnock back into their own half.
With 5 minutes played Ross Brocket fielded an Oban kick ahead. He immediately set of in a powerful run into the opposition half and linked with Ally Anderson who was forced into touch at the Oban 22 metre line.
Play swung from end to end for the next 20 minutes with both sides trying to play an open game of rugby but the wind and rain were not conducive to open rugby. However the play was exciting enough for the spectators.
With both defences ably coping with the attacks and play mainly concentrated in mid-field it was no surprise that the first half ended in a no scoring draw.
Highlights of the half were Garnock’s dominance of the lineouts, the willingness of the youthful Garnock backs to run the ball when the opportunities arose and the defending of the Garnock squad. Oban had their highlights in this period with their strong forwards winning more than their share of the set scrums and their wingers testing the Garnock defence at every chance afforded.
The Oban left winger was yellow carded in the 30th minute for a high tackle.
The half ended with Garnock camped in the Oban 22 metre area with a series of lineouts but they were unable to capitalise by scoring.
The second half restarted and, in their first serious attack towards the Garnock try line, Tom Southerland burst over to open the scoring for Oban. The conversion by Findlay Carmichael was good and Oban moved into a 7 – 0 lead after 43 minutes played.
Penalties were being awarded but too far out for any chance of altering the score. Passes were being dropped and knocked on due to the conditions but the play was still exciting with both teams trying to play their brand of rugby.
In the 60th minute Garnock were deep inside the Oban half. The won a lineout 20 metres from the try line, set up a series of drives towards the line, fed the ball to the backs and Rory Walker burst through to score at the posts. Brother Keir converted and the scores were tied at 7 points apiece.
Again play settled down to be concentrated at the halfway area with neither squad showing any sign of gaining the upper hand.
With three minutes remaining, Oban were awarded a penalty 30 metres out and near the touchline. Carmichael elected to kick for the points. The kick was successful and Oban led 10 – 7.
For the last few minutes Garnock were camped well inside the Oban half but time ran out without any further scoring to finish with a home victory at 10 – 7.
This was a game where the conditions played a significant part in the style of rugby being played. The ball was difficult to handle resulting in many knock ons and dropped passes.
The young Garnock players showed that their coaching is paying dividends in their attack and defensive abilities and the promise that next season should be exciting.
The Garnock squad on the day was Matt Shiells, Richard O’Neill, Luke Wynn, Lewis McGeachy, Jonathan Watson, Rory Dominy, David R Miller, Stuart Wilson, Keir Walker, Rory Walker, Ross Brocket, Jordan Taggart, Jared Reekie, Fraser Brocket, Ally Anderson, David Miller, Ian Loach and Ross Wilson.