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Garnock v Paisley Match Report

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Garnock Gear Up For New Season.

Garnock played Paisley in the first of three friendly games to test the level of their squad’s fitness and ability prior to the start of season 2015/16. With nineteen squad members on show coaches Jared Reekie and Barry Fitzgerald had a good opportunity to gauge where their strengths and weaknesses lay.

The game was split into three sessions, two of 20 minutes duration and a final session of 40 minutes.

Garnock kicked off ad immediately camped within the Paisley 22 metre area. They won a penalty and opted to kick for position with a line out 8 metres out from the Paisley try line. Unfortunately, the huge Paisley line out jumper spoiled their attacking chance and the visitors easily cleared the danger.

Play swung from side to side within the half-way area for some minutes with neither side able to sustain any pressure.

After 13 minutes play, Garnock won the ball near their own line and the ball was played out with Chris Neill, Cammy Perry and Ewan Perry making some 70 metres before being bundled into touch. This move lit up the spectators and increased their expectations.

However, the standard of play deteriorated and, with the sides cancelling each other out, the play was scrappy.

With time running out in the first session, Garnock again chose to kick for touch from a penalty award near the half –way line. The line out was won by Johnny Watson. The ball was transferred to scrum half Jared Reekie and fed out the threequarter line. When the Garnock advance was stopped a quick pass to Greg Matthew saw the stand-in Captain weave his way to the try line to score between the posts. He converted to make the score 7 – 0 in Garnock’s favour at the end of session one.

The second helping continued as with the first but with the Garnock backs trying to run the ball more often but the Paisley defence held steady. Paisley were also gaining more of the play and their stand off was beginning to stretch their play.

In the 25th minute of play the Garnock pack won their scrum and Reekie fed the ball to Matthew. He broke through the first line of defence and fed to Ewan Perry who had too much pace for the visiting defence. The full back touched down to score a well engineered try and push the score to 12 – 0 for Garnock.

Five minutes later Garnock repeated the score when Jordan Taggart showed how fast he can be when he finished off a break by Matthew to score from a 40 metre run, in which he beat four defenders. Thirty minutes played and Garnock led 17 – 0.

For the rest of the session Garnock tried to stamp their authority on the game but the Paisley defence had regrouped and were beginning to gain the upper hand. Their forwards were matching Garnock in most phases and winning more than their share of line outs.

The second session finished with Garnock in attack.

The third session was the best of the game so far. Paisley were more coherent and were looking the better side for spells of the game. The Garnock tackling was such that all the gaps seemed to be covered and the visitors were relying on gaining ground through the boot of their stand off.

Highlights of this period were a “storming” run by Cammy Perry when he jinked his way to, and over, the try line at the posts , a Jared Reekie solo effort and a run almost the length of the park by Matthew to score his second try of the match. With Matthew converting all three tries Garnock ran out winners by 38 points to nil in an entertaining “friendly” game of rugby.

After the game, stand-in captain Matthew thought the hard and fast running of the Garnock backs was excellent. He thought the tackling from the forwards was the key to stopping Paisley getting good ball from the loose play. He did reckon there was still work to be done to achieve a higher level for league and cup business.

Coach Jared Reekie was happy with the turn out of players who showed that their fitness level was high. He thought there were good phases of play which augured well for the coming season but he also agreed that there was still a lot of work to be done.

Next Saturday (15th) Garnock entertain a Watsonians squad at Lochshore in their second warm up match. Kick-off time is yet to be agreed so keep an eye on the Garnock Facebook page for further details.

Tom Dickson

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