RBS West One



GARNOCK travelled to Oban to complete their 2016-17 league campaign.

Hosts Lorne were struggling in the league and close to the relegation zone but were in the semi-final of the West District Shield and a close match was forecast.

Garnock travelled with a squad comprising five teenagers and an average age of just under 22 – a fact that bodes well for the club's future.

The visitors kicked off in dismal conditions and immediately attacked the home try line. They were awarded a lineout 15 metres out, won the throw in but were penalised for offside by the referee. This reversal allowed Oban to clear their lines and force Garnock back into their own half.

With five minutes played Ross Brocket fielded an Oban kick ahead. He immediately set off on a powerful run into the opposition half and linked with Ally Anderson who was forced into touch at the Oban 22-metre line.

Play swung from end to end for the next 20 minutes but the wind and rain were not conducive to open rugby. However play was exciting enough.

With both defences coping with the attacks and play mainly concentrated in midfield it was no surprise the first half ended in a no scoring draw.

Highlights of the half were Garnock’s dominance of the lineouts, the willingness of the youthful Garnock backs to run the ball when the opportunities arose and the defending of the Garnock squad. Oban had their highlights in this period with their strong forwards winning more than their share of the set scrums and their wingers testing the Garnock defence.

The Oban left winger was yellow-carded on the half hour for a high tackle.

The half ended with Garnock camped in the Oban 22 metre area with a series of lineouts but they were unable to capitalise by scoring.

Three minutes after the break in their first serious attack towards the Garnock try line, Tom Southerland burst over to open the scoring for Oban. The conversion by Findlay Carmichael was good and Oban moved 7-0 ahead.

Penalties were being awarded but too far out for any chance of altering the score. Passes were being dropped and knocked on due to the conditions but the play was still exciting.

On the hour, Garnock were deep inside the Oban half. The won a lineout 20 metres from the try line, set up a series of drives towards the line, fed the ball to the backs and Rory Walker burst through to score at the posts. Brother Keir converted and the scores were tied at 7-7.

Again play settled down to be concentrated at the halfway area with neither squad showing any sign of gaining the upper hand.

With three minutes remaining, Oban were awarded a penalty 30 metres out and near the touchline. Carmichael elected to kick for the points. The kick was successful.

For the last few minutes Garnock were camped well inside the Oban half but time ran out.

This was a game where the conditions played a significant part in the style of rugby played. The ball was difficult to handle, resulting in many knock ons and dropped passes.

The young Garnock players showed that their coaching is paying dividends in their attack and defensive abilities and the promise that next season should be exciting.

The Garnock squad on the day was Matt Shiells; Richard O’Neill, Luke Wynn, Lewis McGeachy, Jonathan Watson, Rory Dominy, David R Miller, Stuart Wilson, Keir Walker, Rory Walker, Ross Brocket, Jordan Taggart, Jared Reekie, Fraser Brocket, Ally Anderson, David Miller, Ian Loach, Ross Wilson.