BT West One



By Tom Dickson

GARNOCK travelled to Oban for their opening league match of the 2017-18 season with a similar squad as appeared last week. Making his seasonal debut was Lewis McGeachy and James Reid his long-awaited comeback.

Keir Walker started the match in kicking towards the Oban clubhouse. The Garnock follow-up forced Oban to punt into touch. From 30 metres out, Garnock won the ball but a knock-on and a good break by Oban took Garnock well into their own half.

Play swung from one side to another with neither side looking like doing any damage to the scoreboard. Oban seemed to be getting the upper hand.

In the 6th minute Walker kicked a Garnock penalty to find touch at the home 10 metre line. Rory Dominy won the ensuing lineout. The ball was fed along the backs and Jared Reekie forced his way over for a try at the posts. Walker converted and Garnock led 7-0.

Garnock scored their second try through Matt Shiells after some powerful scrummaging from the visiting forwards and Matt’s strength getting him the touchdown. The conversion was missed but Garnock stretched out to a lead of 12 points.

Just before half-time Oban were caught offside 30 metres out and in front of the posts. Walker duly converted to give Garnock a 15-0 lead at half-time.

The first half lead was a reflection on how Garnock were the dominant side.

Oban started the second half and camped inside the Garnock half. It was no surprise when their full back rounded off probably the best running move of the game to score at the posts. The conversion was good and it was 15-7 in 43 minutes.

Four minutes later Oban scored again in a move started in the forwards, continued by the backs and finished off by their centre. With the conversion missed it was 15-12.

At this stage Oban were well on top and only some stout defence by Garnock kept them from scoring.

However, Oban burst through the Garnock defence for the full back to again score at the posts and with the conversion following, they moved into the lead at 19-15 after 55 minutes play.

Garnock regained the lead in 67 minutes after Walker punted a penalty from his own 22 metre line to the Oban 22 metre line.

Jonny Watson easily won the lineout. The ball was fed out by Dominy to Reekie and on to Brocket who powered past two defenders to score in the corner. The difficult kick was missed but the score moved to 20-19 for the visitors.

Garnock were by now the better squad and spent the rest of the game attacking the Oban try line. Again from a Walker penalty kick to touch at the Oban 22 line, the ball was won by the visiting pack and driven towards the try line. Richard O’Neil was driven over to score well out. The conversion was missed but in 74 minutes, Garnock moved 25-19 in front.

For the remainder of play Garnock were in total control and unlucky not to add to their score when first Reekie and then Mark Richmond were unlucky not to cross the line.

The game finished with Garnock winning 25-19 and with a Bonus Point victory.

After the game Garnock coach Bill McDonald was really pleased to go to Oban and come back with five points and with Oban being a difficult place to win the boys had to dig deep.

He said: The first half was excellent and we were very clinical when the opportunities arose for us to score. Oban enjoyed superiority in the first 20 minutes of the second half and found themselves ahead. However the boys rallied and scored two good tries to take the lead and win the game. Our defence was excellent all day and when the opportunities arose we scored four tries. All in all I was very pleased with the effort put in by the players and the discipline shown in such a tight encounter. It was great to see our loyal ban of supporters on the bus supporting the team.”

Saturday sees Garnock at home in a league encounter against East Kilbride, ko 3pm.