BT Shield Round One



GARNOCK comfortably disposed of Helensburgh to progress to the quarter-finals on Saturday.

The hosts kicked off, towards the whisky bonds, in glorious weather and under the auspices of new coach, Bill McDonald. The squad had a youngish look about it with the introduction of several of last season's youth players.

Garnock immediately pressed towards the visitors’ line but stout defending kept them at bay. In their first foray into the Garnock half Helensburgh were awarded a penalty 40 metres from the posts. They elected to kick for points but were unsuccessful. This seemed to spur them on.

They were unlucky in seven minutes. Having won a scrum against the head and having fed the ball along the backs they ran out of space and were forced into touch at the Helensburgh five metres out.

In 11 minutes they scored when Jared Reekie out-paced the cover defence after a move involving the threequarter line, to score at the posts. Keir Walker converted to make it 7-0.

Play concentrated around the half way area and with 18 minutes Walker converted a penalty from the Helensburgh 10 metre line when referee McHenry deemed the visitors straying offside. Walker’s kick put Garnock 10-0 ahead.

10 minutes later the scrum half was on target again to push Garnock 13-0 ahead when he converted from 20 metres in front of the posts.

At this stage Garnock were the better side. They were winning the set scrums, in front in the lineout plays and trying to run the ball at every chance. Only stout Helensburgh defence and a few handling errors kept the score reasonably tight.

Helensburgh lost one of their props when he was yellow-carded for an infringement in a ruck.

With half-time approaching and Garnock camped well inside the Helensburgh 22 metre area they won a lineout 20 metres out. The ball was fed to the backs after a short forward drive and Tony Woods had the speed to round off the move close to the posts. Walker converted and it was 20-0 at half-time.

The second half continued in much the same vein as the first. Garnock were always trying to release their running backs. Their forwards were providing good service from scrums and lineouts but Helensburgh were coming more into the game.

The Garnock breakthrough came in 52 minutes when Rory Dominy was first to latch on to a loose ball. The young second row player showed a good turn of speed and powered his way over the line to make it 25-0.

In the last 15 minutes Helensburgh seemed to be stronger. They were awarded a penalty in 67 minutes and in probably their best move broke away near their own line. Their left winger sprinted up the touchline, looked set to score when he was tackled and forced into touch at the Garnock five metre line.

Again play settled down into the pattern of most of the game and with Garnock awarded a penalty near the centre line they elected to put the ball out of play to end the game.

As the score suggests, this was a competent victory for Garnock. Their forwards won more than their share of the set-pieces and were always forcing their way towards the Helensburgh line. The backs were always sharper than their opposition. The Garnock defence, again as the score suggests, coped with any threat from Helensburgh.

Garnock now face Annan in the quarter-final at Lochshore on Saturday September 30, ko 3pm.

The Garnock squad was (1-20) Shiells, O’Neil, Wynn, Dominy, Watson, Reid, DR Miller, Wilson, Perry, Walker, Brocket, Taggart, Reekie, Johnston, Woods, Chapman, Richmond, Loach and F Miller.

Saturday sees Garnock begin their league campaign away to Oban Lorne.