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Garnock Suffer Defeat by Newton Stewart

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Garnock Suffer Defeat by Newton Stewart

(As reported by Tom Dickson)

Garnock entertained champions-elect Newton Stewart at Lochshore in their final home game of the season last Saturday.

On an overcast day Newton Stewart (NS) kicked off towards the whisky bonds but were immediately forced back into their own half when Callum Harris broke away from his own 22 metre run in a powerful run to the opposite 22 metre line. He was stopped by the cover defence but an illegal entry into the resulting maul gave Garnock a penalty kick near the touchline. The difficult conversion was just wide of the mark.

Play swung from end to end for the next ten minutes with both squads running the ball at every opportunity. During this spell NS were dominant in the set scrums and Garnock taking most of the lineouts.

With 12 minutes played, NS were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and 25 metres out. Stand off Russell Morton made no mistake with his kick and Garnock trailed 0 – 3.

The pattern of play continued as before but the cover defences coped with the threats imposed by the attacking play of both sides.

During this phase Garnock centre, Jordan Taggart, was unlucky to be stopped after a incisive run from his own half to the NS 22 metre line was halted by a try-saving tackle from the NS full back McMillan.

Rory Walker cleared any loose ball coming his way, continually finding touch with his clearances.

In the 25th minute Garnock were reduced to 14 players when their No.4 was yellow carded for illegally kicking the ball away from a ruck.

Garnock were starting to look the better side with the forwards winning most lineouts through Jonny Watson and the breakaways stifling out the NS attacks from the set pieces.

In the 33rd minute winger J.Muir rounded of a move by the NS backs when he scored a try half way to the touchline. Morton converted to make it 0 – 10 to NS.

For the rest of the half Garnock pressed for a score but the well-organised NS squad held them out until the half-time break.

The second half was a repeat of the first with the spectators being highly entertained with two sides trying to play an open game of rugby.

Highlights from the Garnock point of view were a 60 metre break by Rory Walker and Jordan Taggart which deserved more but was stopped by the defenders, the lineout play of Garnock, the scrummaging power of NS and the stalwart defending of both squads.

Garnock scored a try in the 58th minute after sustained forward pressure saw then camped within sight of the NS try line. From a scrum 5 metres out on their left, Keir Walker darted down the blind to score near the touchline. The conversion was missed but Garnock were back in the game at 5 -10.

Seven minutes later Garnock were defending their own line when Rory Walker’s clearing kick was charged down and L. Brawls was first to react to score near the posts. Morton converted to make it 5 – 17.

The pattern of play for the remainder of the game continued in the same vein as before with both sides playing good rugby but the tight defences proved capable of containing the threats imposed.

The play ended with Garnock desperately trying to snatch a losing bonus point and NS trying to deny them the point. In this NS succeeded and the game ended at 5 – 17 for Newton Stewart.

With only one league game to go, Garnock have a short break until that game is played on February 18th in Oban with a 3 o’clock kick-off.

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