Helensburgh 12 Garnock 30
(Reported by Tom Dickson)
Garnock travelled to Helensburgh on Saturday holding an undefeated league record. With Helensburgh languishing in the relegation area and Garnock in the promotion hunt, a victory was expected.
Helensburgh kicked off but were repulsed by a relieving kick from Keir Walker.
On the two minute mark the home side were reduced to fourteen when Stuart King was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle. This spurred Garnock on and it was no surprise when they opened the scoring after 7 minutes play. From a lineout at the Helensburgh 22 line, a slight knock on resulted in a scrum to Helensburgh. Garnock won the ball and fed out to winger Fraser Brocket who almost scored in the corner. With the ball recycled, the home backs were deemed offside and prevented a certain score. The referee, rightly, awarded Garnock a Penalty Try. With the conversion conceded Garnock moved in front at 0 – 7.
Play concentrated mainly around the half way line with Helensburgh looking the better side.
The ball was fielded well inside the Helensburgh half. Full back Drake elected to take the play inside the Garnock half. He evaded several tacklers to release winger Stevenson. He in turn sped on to score near touch. The conversion was missed and the score became 5 – 7 after 12 minutes.
Garnock replied within two minutes when Walker converted a penalty from the 22 metre mark. With 14 minutes played Garnock were in front at 5 – 10.
Garnock were much the better side at this stage with highlights from Jordan Taggart’s powerful running, Chris Neill’s astute kicking and the powerful Garnock pack dominating the set pieces.
On the 20 minute they were rewarded with a second try. The pack won a scrum, Walker fed the ball to Neill who drew his man, released Taggart. He, in turn, fed on to Jared Reekie who found space to sprint over to score well out. The conversion was missed but Garnock were clear at 5 – 15.
Play somewhat stagnated for the next ten minutes with neither side creating any telling plays.
The best move came along in the 31st minute when the Helensburgh scrum half, McAulay, broke away from a scrum on Garnock’s 22 metre line to score between the posts. The conversion was good and the score moved to 12-15.
Two minutes later, Walker converted a penalty when Helensburgh were again caught offside making it 12 – 18.
Garnock went further ahead when Luke Wynn picked up from a maul and burst his way over at the posts. Walker converted to push Garnock ahead at 12-25 after 38 minutes.
Garnock restarted the second half but were immediately on the defensive as Helensburgh forced their way into the visitors 22 line area. They were beginning to get the upper hand in the set exchanges but the Garnock tackling was secure.
Both sides were playing open running rugby keeping the spectators alert.
Scoring chances were few and far between but the two squads kept the play at a high standard.
With time running out it took a bit of “magic” from Garnock’s centre Taggart to speed his way over for the Bonus Point try near the corner. The kick was missed as the score moved to 12 – 30 with two minutes remaining.
Final score Helensburgh 12 points Garnock 30 points and the winning run
The Garnock squad was :- Wynn, O’Neill, Shiells, McGeachey, Miller D, Watson, DR Miller, Dominy, Walker, Neill, Brocket, Reekie, Taggart, Woods, Anderson, Miller J, Gibb, Richmond and Irvine.
Next Saturday, Garnock take on local neighbours and rival in the form of Irvine Rugby Club at Lochshore with a 3 o’clock kick-off.