BT West One
GLASGOW ACCIES 19
GARNOCK welcomed undefeated league leaders Glasgow Accies to Lochshore on Saturday in the third encounter between the clubs this season.
Accies had won the two previous games and came to North Ayrshire expecting a resounding victory.
The hosts, under the auspices of new coach, Gavin Blackburn, were looking to improve on previous performances.
Accies kicked off towards the Beith end and put pressure on the Garnock defence. They made thrust after thrust to the try line but the home defence kept them at bay.
It wasn’t until five minutes that the pressure was finally eased when stand off Chris Neill kicked a free kick into the Accies 22 metre area. The lineout was won by Jonny Watson and Garnock drove forward. Referee McHenry deemed the Accies backs had encroached offside and awarded Garnock a penalty on the 22 metre line halfway to touch. Keir Walker converted to put the hosts 3-0 ahead.
In 16 minutes, Garnock were awarded a penalty on the Accies 10 metre line. Walker elected to attempt the 40 metre kick which, to the delight of the Garnock support, sailed over the bar to put the hosts 6- 0 ahead..
Six minutes later Chris Rhodes converted a penalty for Accies from 35 metres to make it 6-3 and nailed another one on the stroke of half-time to square the contest.
The second half started with Garnock on the attack. Neill kicked them into position at the Accies 22 metre line and again they won the lineout. However Accies' defence held strong and they were able to surge towards the Garnock line.
They were rewarded when Garnock were penalised for a scrummage infringement in front of the posts. Rhodes converted and Accies were 9-6 ahead in 47 minutes.
In 51 minutes, Accies won a scrum in midfield and spun the ball through several pairs of hands to release Kerr Malcolm who outpaced the covering defence to score a try close to the posts. Rhodes converted to make it 16-6.
Four minutes later Walker converted a penalty from 35 metres.
Garnock were reduced to 14 players four minutes from time when one of their forwards was yellow-carded for a scrummage infringement. This allowed Accies to apply more pressure on Garnock. They seemed to have held out until the referee penalised Garnock in front of the posts some 30 metres out. Rhodes converted and the score moved to 19-9 in Accies' favour.
The final five minutes saw Garnock applying pressure on the Accies defence. Their threequarters were always testing their opponents with Jared Reekie, Ally Anderson, Jordan Taggart and Fraser Brockett prominent.
The forwards were in command of the scrums and lineouts providing the ammunition for the backs. However the Accies defence was well-drilled and hold held out for a narrow victory.
More perfrmances like this by the Garnock squad should relieve the spectre of relegation over the remaining five league games.
On Saturday Garnock will be in Dublin supporting the international squad to victory against the Irish. League business returns to Lochshore on 26th with a game against Lenzie.