BT West One



by Tom Dickson

GARNOCK entertained champions-elect Newton Stewart at Lochshore in their final home game of the season on Saturday.

On an overcast day Newton Stewart kicked off towards the whisky bonds but were immediately forced back into their own half when Calvin Harris broke away from his own 22-metre run in a powerful run to the opposite 22-metre line. He was stopped by the cover defence but an illegal entry into the resulting maul gave Garnock a penalty kick near the touchline. The difficult conversion was just wide.

Play swung from end to end for the next ten minutes with both squads running the ball at every opportunity. During this spell Newton Stewart were dominant in the set scrums and Garnock taking most of the lineouts.

With 12 minutes played, NS were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and 25 metres out. Stand off Russell Morton made no mistake with his kick.

The pattern of play continued as before but the cover defences coped with the threats imposed by the attacking play of both sides.

During this phase Garnock centre, Jordan Taggart, was unlucky to be stopped after a incisive run from his own half to the Newton Stewart 22-metre line was halted by a try-saving tackle from visiting full-back McMillan.

Rory Walker cleared any loose ball coming his way, continually finding touch with his clearances.

In 25 minutes Garnock were reduced to 14 players when their number four was yellow carded for illegally kicking the ball away from a ruck.

Eight minutes later winger J Muir rounded off a move by the visiting backs when he scored a try halfway to the touchline. Morton converted to make it 10-0.

For the rest of the half Garnock pressed for a score but the well-organised visiting squad held them out until the break.

The second half was a repeat of the first with the spectators being highly entertained by two sides trying to play open rugby.

Highlights from the Garnock point of view were a 60-metre break by Rory Walker and Taggart which deserved more but was stopped by the defenders and their lineout play.

Garnock scored a try in 58 minutes after sustained forward pressure saw then camped within sight of the try line.

From a scrum five metres out out. Keir Walker darted down the blind to score near the touchline. The conversion was missed but Garnock were back in the game.

Seven minutes later Garnock were defending their own line when Rory Walker’s clearing kick was charged down and L Brawls was first to react to score near the posts. Morton converted to make it 17-5.

The pattern of play for the remainder of the game continued in the same vein as before with both sides playing good rugby but tight defences proved capable of containing the threats imposed

Garnock have a short break until their final league game is played on February 18 in Oban, ko 3pm.