Reported by Tom Dickson
For the second time in four weeks, Garnock travelled to Wigtown to take on high-flying Newton Stewart in a Shield Preliminary fixture.
Their previous encounter resulted in an 8 – 5 victory for the home squad and Garnock were hoping for a long-awaited reversal of fortunes.
Garnock kicked off towards the distillery end of Bladnoch Park and were quickly defending their own territory as NS immediately countered with a telling thrust well into the Garnock half. Garnock won a scrum 20 metres out but the home forwards disrupted their ball and fed the ball through their backs to left winger Craig Johnstone who sped over for an unconverted try after four minutes to make the score 5 – 0.
Garnock replied from the kick-off when Jonny Watson fielded the kick. They forced NS back and were rewarded a penalty for offside. Keir Walker converted and with six minutes gone the score was 5 – 3.
Play swung from end to end for the next ten minutes with Rory Walker putting in some glorious clearance kicks and the Garnock back row dealing with the occasional NS breaks. However, in the 16th minute NS were awarded a penalty and stand off Russell Morton converted to put the score at 8 – 3 for NS.
Play concentrated in mid-field for the next period with neither side looking like scoring and defences coping well. Just before half time Garnock were awarded a penalty. From 40 metres out, Keir Walker converted to make the score 8 – 6.
On the stroke of half time, NS scrum half Robbie McCormick scored a try, converted by Russell Morton to make the half time score 15 – 6.
The second half started and continued in much the same way as the first. Both sides tried to run the ball as often as they could but both sets of defence held tight. At this stage the NS pack had the upper hand in the set scrums and Garnock the rule of the line outs.
This continued for some time but gradually NS gained the advantage and in the 70th minute they scored through centre Fraser Morton to open up the scoring at 20 – 6.
In the last move of the game, Russell Morton broke through the Garnock defence at the half way line to score between the posts. He converted and the referee blew for time up with NS winning 27 – 6.
The Garnock squad was: J.Miller, L.Wynn, M.Shiells, L.McGeachy, J.Watson, G.Reid, DR Miller, S.Wilson, K.Walker, R.Walker, F.Brocket, A.Toupou, J.Reekie, A.Anderson, P.Jacobson, F.Miller, A.Miller and A.Mitchell.
Garnock’s next game is on December 3rd against Annan at Violetbank in Annan with a 2 o’clock kick-off.