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Helensburgh | 5.04.15

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Last Saturday Garnock welcomed their Helensburgh visitors from across the Clyde to Lochshore in pleasant spring-like conditions.This was a crucial relegation match for the home team, and they were boosted by starts from Rory Walker and burly centre Danny Irvine, though lacking a regular hooker due to injuries.

Playing towards Kilbirnie, Garnock started promisingly, just missing an early penalty. However they were soon shocked when Helensburgh, after kicking a penalty to the left corner, easily won the lineout. A long missed pass released centre Howell to score a converted try near the posts to lead 7-0.

The home team rallied and a neat break by scrumhalf Jared Reekie, combining with no.8 Matt Shiells led to a penalty in the left corner. The lineout was lost, not for the first or last time during the game, with Garnock struggling with the throw-ins.

For the next 15 minutes play ebbed back and forth in midfield with Garnock probably kicking possession away too much. After 30 minutes they got on the scoreboard when Rory Walker kicked a penalty after a strong run by hooker Luke Wynn. Helensburgh hit back and were close to scoring when Reekie picked and nearly scored after sprinting the whole length of the pitch. The visitor’s no.8 was sin-binned in covering back, but the resulting penalty was missed leaving Garnock trailing 3-7 at the break.

After the interval Luke Wynn had a barnstorming run stopped by a trip leading to another yellow card for the visitors.

Now playing against 13 men for 5 minutes the homesters dominated, and stand-off Walker soon dummied over for a touchdown which he converted himself. Matthew Shiells made a lot of ground from scrum pick-ups, leading to a try by flanker David Ramsey-Milller, which was converted by Walker, making the score 17-7.

With Helensburgh restored to their full complement of players, Garnock now had their tails up and continued with their best rugby of the season, scoring 3 more well worked tries.

Left winger Andrew Mitchell cut inside, nicely linking up for centre Danny Irvine to score near the posts. Walker converted then from the kick-off, gathered his short kick ahead and fed fullback Ewan Perry to outpace the defence.

Garnock again continued to press with good handling, and recycled the ball from the left corner. A long cross-field pass from Walker found Perry racing over for a converted try making the score 36-7 with 10 minutes to go.

The home team eased off a little towards the end, allowing the visitor’s scrum half to nip over for a converted try, making the final score 36-14.

This welcome victory helped Garnock’s relegation worries, with results from upper divisions making them safe for this season.

They are entertaining bottom club Annan at Lochshore this coming Saturday 11th April.

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