BT West Division One



By Tom Dickson

PROMOTION-chasing Garnock welcomed Helensburgh to Lochshore on Saturday for their latest league encounter.

With the visitors in bottom position, a Garnock victory was expected by the partisan home support.

The Garnock squad was along familiar lines but with Danny Irvine and Grant Ruxton in the starting line-up.

Garnock kicked-off towards the town-end in a bright dry but very cold afternoon. Helensburgh conceded the first of many penalties in two minutes. Keir Walker chose to kick for position. They were rewarded with a free-kick by referee Sommers and elected for the scrum. The scrum was duly won and the ball fed to the backs but the Helensburgh defence held Irvine’s powerful burst.

Play settled down for the next 20 minutes with both sides trying to play open rugby but neither could break down the defensive pattern they faced. Highlights during this period was the domination of Garnock in the line-outs, the intelligent kicking of stand off Chris Neill and the foraging of the Garnock back row.

Helensburgh, for their part, were always a threat and only a last-minute covering move by Ewan Perry at full back saved Garnock from going behind.

The visitors went ahead in 24 minutes when Garnock were caught offside in front of their posts. Callum Slader made the kick look easy as Helensburgh moved 3-0 up.

From the restart, Stuart Wilson pounced on a loose ball, made some yards and off-loaded to the supporting Rory Dominy who scored near the touch line. The conversion was missed but Garnock had nosed 5-3 ahead after 28 minutes. Two minutes later Neill broke towards the Helensburgh line and released Irvine who sprinted over to score a try at the posts. Walker converted to put Garnock 12-3 ahead after half an hour.

With half-time approaching, Garnock scored their third try when Dominy scored his second after a kick and chase after some good Garnock team work to make the score 17-3 for the homesters.

This coincided with a serious injury to Garnock’s David R Miller. The second half was completed on an adjoining pitch whilst the player was being attended to by the professional ambulance personnel.

The second half started in a subdued manner and for some 10 minutes, play was very flat. It livened when Garnock ran the ball from their own 22 metre area with the best move of the game so far. After having transferred the ball through several pairs of hands, Jared Reekie sped in from 25 metres to score. The conversion was missed and Garnock moved into a 22-3 lead and the bonus try point secured in 54 minutes.

The remainder of the game continued as before with Garnock beginning to dominate a tiring Helensburgh side. This allowed Garnock to spend most of the time inside the Helensburgh half.

In 62 minutes, the backs carved a way towards the opposition try line and fed to the ever-alert Dominy who outstripped the cover tackler to score his third try of the afternoon and a Garnock victory secured at 27-3.

From here on Garnock played their best rugby of the day and were a constant threat to the Helensburgh try line. However, the visitors were coping with whatever Garnock could offer.

With three minutes left, they again ran the ball towards the Helensburgh line and linked up with the forwards. Again, Dominy proved to be in the right place to round off a great day for Garnock and the young number eight, who brushed aside would-be tacklers to score his fourth try. The kick was missed and Garnock completed a 32-3 victory with six tries in the chase for promotion.

GARNOCK: Grant Ruxton, Richard O’Neill, Matt Shiells ( C ), Lewis McGeachy, Jonny Watson, Stuart Wilson, David R Miller, Rory Dominy, Keir Walker, Chris Neill, Ross Johnstone, Jared Reekie, Danny Irvine, Tony Woods, Ewan Perry, Mathew Richmond, Fraser Brocker, Ian Halbert and Alan Brocket.

Garnock’s next match is on March 3 against Irvine at Marress, with a 3pm kick-off.