Garnock secure victory over GHA
Garnock made the short trip to Braidholm to take on GHA 2s in their final preseason friendly.
The squad saw the return of Rory Walker, Paul Johnston, Richard O’Neill and Davy Ramsey Miller however there were a number of absentees including Greg Matthew, Gavin Paul and Luke Wynn
The game kicked off in good conditions with both sides keen to handle the ball. GHA had the better of the early exchanges spreading the ball wide through their young backs at every opportunity. Garnock’s back line defence was breached in the wide channels on two occasions resulting in two soft tries in the first 20 minutes. GHA 12-0
A quiet word from coach Reekie and a little more discipline from the Garnock back line resolved the initial defensive problems . Garnock worked their way back into the game and after 30 minutes built some pressure in the GHA 22. From quick ruck ball Paul Johnston put Jonny Watson into a gap between the GHA centres and he cantered between the sticks. Chris Neil slotted the conversion and it was game on.
As halftime approached Garnock kicked a midfield penalty to touch 10 metres from the GHA line. A smart line out take and quick release saw Paul Johnston break up the touchline to score in the corner. The conversion was narrowly missed and we were 12-12 at halftime
During the break the Garnock coaches reaffirmed the defensive patterns and offensive strategy. The early play in the second period was mainly in the GHA half with Garnock seeming to have the upper hand however there was no change to the scoreboard. Garnock’s scrum was solid and the pack began to get the upper hand in the line out with both second rows stealing ball.
With 20 minutes gone GHA won a line out on the Garnock 22 however John Miller got a hand in and the GHA player dropped the ball. This was surprisingly deemed to be dangerous play and Captain Miller was shown a yellow card. This reduction in numbers only seemed to bolster the Garnock desire. A smart back line move involving Cammy Perry, Ewan Perry and Andrew Mitchell took play up to the GHA 22 . At the resulting ruck Richard O’Neill was deemed to have handled the ball and a second yellow card was produced.
Now two men down the Garnock pack should have been up against it however they increased the effort levels with Alan Miller and Lewis McGeachie making strong contributions in attack in DRM tireless in defence. A quickly taken penalty by Rory Walker on the Garnock 22 resulted in the GHA defence infringing and the resulting penalty was also taken quickly, this time by Ewan Perry and again GHA were penalised. Walker kicked to touch on the GHA 22. The line out was secured and a neat back line move put Chris Neil through a gap only to be tackled just short of the line. Chris had the foresight to offload to the supporting Jordan Taggart who scored between the posts. Conversion was successful and Garnock were ahead 19-12
Garnock were restored to 15 shortly after the score and were able to see out the remainder of the game primarily in GHA half.
This was an improved performance from the previous game and once the initial back line defensive issue was resolved GHA’s sprightly backs were kept under control.
Next week Garnock face Glasgow Accies in the Shield . The return of players unavailable for today’s game will strengthen the squad and make for some interesting selection decisions