BT West One
OBAN LORNE 26
ON Saturday Garnock travelled the 200 mile round trip to Oban to continue their league quest for points in their bid to escape the relegation zone.
The squad was one of the youngest to represent the Valley side in many years with three of last year’s successful Under-18 squad making their First XV debuts.
The game started with an Oban kick-off. They immediately attacked the Garnock 22 metre area after Garnock were caught offside by kicking to touch for position. They won the lineout in three minutes and drove to the try line with their huge forward pack where prop Tommy Sutherland scored near the posts and Finley Carmichael converted the try to put the hosts 7-0 ahead.
Play settled down for a short spell but Oban were dominating the set scrums and their forwards were running hard at the Garnock defence.
They scored their second try in 12 minutes through Dominykas Matuzevicius, followed by Carmichael's conversion. Flanker Lorne Maclachlan and Carmichael added another seven points in 19 minutes.
The visitors then started to get more of the ball. They began to dominate the lineouts through Johnny Watson and Alan Miller.
On a rare foray into the home 22 metre area, Garnock won another lineout some 8 metres from the Oban try line and in a well-worked move the ball was fed to Graeme Reid, on his seasonal debut, and he powered over the line to score and make it 21 – 5.
The second half started with Garnock on the attack. When Oban strayed offside Rory Walker elected to kick to touch for position to keep the pressure on the home side.
With the lineout won, the forwards drove towards the scoring area with Johnny Watson and Jamie Holmes leading the attack. However, the home defence held firm.
Again play swung from end to end with both sides playing some attractive rugby to keep the spectators on edge. The plus points for Garnock during this period were a brilliant steal by David Ramsey Miller followed by a 20-metre run towards the Oban try line, a mazy run by Kieran Walker on his debut which highlighted his potential and the stout defending of the Garnock threequarters.
Oban were trying to press for further scores but the boot of Rory Walker kept them at bay. This was the best passage of the game so far.
Oban were awarded a penalty well inside the Garnock half. They kicked for touch, won the line out and drove closer to the Garnock try line. They fed the ball out to the backs and winger Vasil Borisov outran the cover to score in the corner in 65 minutes.,
This seemed to spur Garnock to greater efforts and they were rewarded two minutes later when Johnny Watson latched onto a loose ball. He dodged his way past several would-be tacklers and scored near the touchline. Kieran Walker converted to make it 26-12 after 68 minutes.
Garnock dominated for the rest of the game and camped well inside the Oban half.
With time running out and Garnock looking for a losing bonus point they kept the pressure on the home try line.
Their discipline held good and, with the clock in the red area, they were rewarded when Richard O’Neill rounded off the scoring with a try near the touchline. The conversion was missed and the hosts held on to win.
This was Garnock’s best display in several games. They introduced three young players in Kieran Walker, Fraser Ewington and Fraser Brocket to First XV rugby. and all showed their class and potential.
If the squad keep playing this level and with a little bit of luck they should escape relegation and move up the table.
GARNOCK: John Miller (captain); Richard O’Neill, Grant Ruxton, Johnny Watson, Jamie Holmes, Graeme Reid, David Ramsey Miller, Alan Miller, Paul Johnson, Rory Walker, Ross Johnson, Chrissie Neill, Jared Reekie, Kieran Walker, Tony Woods, Alan Brocket, Fraser Brocket and Fraser Ewington.