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Garnock Outmuscle Greenock

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Garnock Outmuscle Greenock


Reported by Tom Dickson

Greenock Wanderers were the visitors to Lochshore on Saturday. They came as undefeated league leaders but ended as losers to a powerful all-round Garnock display.

Throughout the game the Garnock pack consistently won their own and several of the Greenock put ins. The lineouts were also controlled by the Garnock eight-some.

The defensive strategy of the home squad was such that Greenock had few chances to get their high-scoring back division to show what they had done in their previous games.

All in all, this was a competent display by the Garnock squad and augers well for the remainder of the season.

The game started with Garnock’s kick off not going 10 metres resulting in a Greenock scrum at halfway. The strong Garnock scrum disrupted the Greenock set piece. This was the shape of things to come.

After a couple of phases of play Garnock made their way into the Greenock half. They were rewarded when referee Ellison penalised the Greenock backs for being offside. Keir Walker opened the scoring when he converted the penalty award from the 22 metres line.  Five minutes played and Garnock led 3 – 0.

For the next 10 minutes play was confined to the area between the two 22 metre lines with neither side being able to penetrate the stout defences.

It took another Walker penalty awarded for not rolling away from a ruck. The simple kick increased Garnock’s lead to 6 – 0 after 16 minutes.

The restart was kicked directly into touch – back to halfway for Garnock’s scrum, scrum won and a drive towards the Greenock line was illegally halted. Walker quickly ran the ball and was supported by his pack. They drove to the Greenock try line and Matt Shiells was in position to touchdown in the corner. The conversion was missed and after 22 minutes the score moved on to 11 – 0.

For the remainder of the half Garnock dominated play and only good cover defence kept them at bay. Walker added to his haul of points when he converted a third penalty from 30 metres in the 34th minute.

Greenock were reduced to 14 when they were penalised for talking back to the referee. Garnock cashed in on their numerical superiority when Lewis McGeachie crashed over to score near the touchline. The conversion was missed.

Kieren Smith scored a consolation penalty award with the last play of the ball to make the score at the interval 19 – 3.

From the restart Garnock continued as they had in the first half but Greenock came more into the game. They were rewarded when Smith goaled another penalty kick. With 46 minutes played the score moved to 19 – 6.

Walker converted another penalty from 35 metres to add to Garnock’s score of 22 – 6 after 54 minutes.

For the next period of play it was Greenock’s turn to be the dominant force. They forced their way well inside the Garnock half with the help of some fine running by their backs. One such move ended when Brad Cleary rounded off a powerful attack as he scored well out. With the clock showing an hour played the score was 22 – 11.

Play seemed to slow down a bit but Garnock regained the upper hand. Jonny Watson and McGeachie were dominant in their lineout jumping. The Garnock back row Allan Miller, David R Miller and Stuart Wilson were easily dealing with the sporadic thrusts from the Greenock squad.

Walker added two more penalty kicks. In the 69th minute Greenock were again caught offside 42 metres out and in centre field to make the score 25 – 11.

He struck again in the 72nd minute when a Greenock tackler handled in a ruck while on the ground. Again, the kick from Walker, his sixth of the game, was accurate and the score moved on to 28-11.

The last five minutes was all Greenock’s. They had their best spell of the game pushing Garnock well inside their own half. They chose to keep the ball tight and only determined tackling and cover by the Garnock squad kept them from scoring.

With Greenock camped on the Garnock 22 metre line the referee brought the game to a close with the score 28 – 11 in Garnock’s favour.

This victory raises Garnock into 5th position in the league and should help to springboard them to a higher league position.

Next Saturday Garnock visit Cumnock to play the second promoted side for league points.

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