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Garnock Win Close Encounter                                         (Reported by Tom Dickson)

Garnock entertained East Kilbride Rugby at Lochshore last Saturday in a game which was always going to be tight. Last season East Kilbride finished one position above Garnock in the league with each club winning their home fixture.

Keir Walker opened the proceeding on a beautiful summer-like day but Garnock were immediately forced back into their own half by a powerful drive from the visiting forwards followed by a touch kick to the Garnock 22 metre line.

A lineout infringement allowed Walker to relieve the pressure momentarily as East Kilbride (EK) stormed back to the Garnock half.

The first 10 minutes was fast and furious with EK having slightly the better of the play. During this period EK came closest to opening the scoring when a penalty conversion narrowly missed.

Gradually, Garnock came more into the contest and were rewarded in the 18th minute when Walker kicked a penalty goal after the EK forwards were deemed to have played the ball in a ruck. The successful kick put Garnock in the lead at 3 – 0.

Play continued to ebb and flow as both sides tried to play a fast open game. Luke Wynn was unlucky to be stopped close to the EK 22 line after a telling powerful burst from half way.

Garnock scored a try at the posts after the forwards stole a scrum “against the head” to send Ewan Perry off on a sniping run. The scrum half switched the ball inside to Richard O’Neil who sped over the try line at the posts. Walker converted to Garnock further in the lead at 10 – 0 after 27 minutes.

Ten minutes later EK scored when Roddie Beaton touched down following a break by Aiden Stott from a scrum 25 metres out. Callum Blackwood’s conversion brought the score to 10 – 7 at the end of the first half.

From the EK kick off, Jordan Taggart forced the visitors back into their own half with a kick and chase to the EK 22 metre line.

Blackwood (in the 52nd minute) and Walker (in the 58th minute) traded penalties to keep the game tight and the score at 13 – 10 in Garnock’s favour.

For the next phase of the game Garnock took control and looked the more likely side to score. When the score came along it was from possibly the best passage of play in the game.

Garnock won a scrum in centre field. The ball was fed from Perry to Walker and on to Taggart. The centre drew his opponent and off-loaded to Jared Reekie whose speed and guile finished off the move with a try quite far out. The conversion was narrowly missed and the score move to 18 – 10 for the home side.

EK were behind but were still dangerous. They advanced into the Garnock half and only stout defence kept them at bay. Garnock were penalised several times by the referee and EK ran the ball from these positions.

Eventually they crossed the Garnock try line when Scott Shankie found a gap to score. The conversion was missed and the score narrowed to 18 – 15 with five minutes remaining.

The Garnock defence remained in control and the game finished without any further scoring to give the home squad a well earned victory.

This win keeps Garnock in the group of four undefeated sides leading the league table.

Next Saturday Garnock are at home to Stewartry with a 3 o’clock kick-off.

The Garnock squad was (1-19) Luke Wynn, Richard O’Neil, Matt Shiells, Lewis McGeachy, Jonny Watson, Stuart Wilson, David R Miller, Rory Dominy, Ewan Perry, Keir Walker, Ross Johnston, Jordan Taggart, Jared Reekie, Fraser Brocket, Ally Anderson, Mathew Richmond, James Gibb, David Miller and John Miller.

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