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Garnock Progress to Quarter-Final with win over Helensburgh

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Garnock into the Quarter-Final

(Reported by Tom Dickson)

Garnock comfortably disposed of Helensburgh in Round 1 of BT Regional Shield competition last Saturday.

Garnock kicked off, towards the whisky bonds, in glorious weather and under the auspices of new coach, Bill McDonald. The squad had a youngish look about it with the introduction of several of last seasons youth players.

Garnock immediately pressed towards the visitors’ line but stout defending kept them at bay. In their first foray into the Garnock half Helensburgh were awarded a penalty forty metres from the posts. They elected to kick for points but were unsuccessful. This seemed to spur the home squad to greater effort.

They were unlucky when, with only 7 minutes on the watch, they were unable to open the scoring. Having won a scrum against the head and having fed the ball along the backs they ran out of space and were forced into touch at the Helensburgh 5 metres out.

In 11 minutes they did score when Jared Reekie out-paced the cover defence after a move involving the threequarter line, to score at the posts. Keir Walker converted to make the score 7 – 0.

Play concentrated around the half way area and with 18 minutes Walker converted a penalty from the Helensburgh 10 metre line when referee McHenry deemed the visitors straying offside. Walker’s kick put Garnock 10 – 0 in front.

10 minutes later the scrum half was on target again to push Garnock 13 – 0 ahead when he converted from 20 metres in front of the posts.

At this stage Garnock were the better side. They were winning the set scrums, in front in the lineout plays and trying to run the ball at every chance. Only stout Helensburgh defence and a few handling errors kept the score reasonably tight.

Helensburgh lost one of their props when he was yellow carded for an infringement in a ruck.

With half time approaching and Garnock camped well inside the Helensburgh 22 metre area they won a lineout 20 metres out. The ball was fed to the backs after a short forward drive and Tony Woods had the speed to round off the move close to the posts. Walker converted and the half time score became 20 – 0 in Garnock’s favour.

The second half started and continued in much the same vein as the first. Garnock were always trying to release their running backs. Their forwards were providing good service from scrums and lineouts but Helensburgh were coming more into the game.

The Garnock break-through came in the 52nd minute when Rory Dominy was first to latch on to a loose ball. The young second row player showed a good turn of speed and powered his way over the line to make the score 25 – 0.

Play continued to ebb and flow with each squad gaining some ascendency but the defensive set up by each was easily able to cope with what was thrown at them.

In the last 15 minutes of the game Helensburgh seemed to be the stronger side. They were awarded a penalty in the 67th minute and in probably their best move of the game broke away near their own line. Their left winger sprinted up the touchline, looked set to score when he was tackled and forced into touch at the Garnock 5 metre line.

Again play settled down into the pattern of most of the game and with Garnock being awarded a penalty near the centre line they elected to put the ball out of play to end the game.

As the score suggests, this was a competent victory for Garnock. Their forwards won more than their share of the set pieces and were always forcing their way towards the Helensburgh line. The backs were always sharper than their opposition. The Garnock defence, again as the score suggests, coped with any threat from Helensburgh.

Final score Garnock 25 points Helensburgh 0 points.

Garnock now face Annan in the Regional Quarter Final at Lochshore on Saturday 30th September with a 15.00 kick-off.

The Garnock squad was (1-20) Shiells, O’Neil, Wynn, Dominy, Watson, Reid, DR Miller, Wilson, Perry, Walker, Brocket, Taggart, Reekie, Johnston, Woods, Chapman, Richmond, Loach and F.Miller.

Next Saturday (2nd September) Garnock begin their league campaign with an away game against Oban Lorne.

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