BT West One



By Tom Dickson.

HAVING had no competitive rugby since mid-November, Garnock took the first half to run off any sign of rustiness before revealing how good they can be when they are on-song.

Saturday’s game against Stewartry of Castle Douglas was played in cold but sunny conditions. The squad was along the usual with Ian Halbert making his long-awaited season’s appearance.

Garnock kicked-off and immediately camped well inside the Stewartry 22 metre area. The constant pressure brought about a mistake from the home forwards with referee Thompson awarding a penalty for offside. With only four minutes played Keir Walker elected to go for the three points. As he was about to start his run up the wind blew the ball off the tee. The young scrum half reacted by picking up the ball to score a drop goal to put Garnock ahead at 3-0.

Play ebbed and flowed for the next 20 minutes with neither side looking like scoring. Penalties were being awarded but none close enough to change the score. Highlights for Garnock during this period included the defensive quality of the tackling of the entire squad, the power of the pack in the set pieces and the willingness of the backs to keep the game open.

With half time approaching, Garnock started to get the upper hand. They elected to kick a penalty award to touch on the Stewartry 22 line. From yet another penalty conceded by the home forwards, Walker converted from mid-field and only 20 metres from the posts. Half-time came with Garnock 6-0 up and beginning to look the better side.

Stewartry restarted and were on the scoreboard within a minute when Mosey converted from 30 metres in 41 minutes.

This was the spur Garnock needed. Four minutes later Matt Shiells rounded off a Garnock drive when he charged over near the touchline to put Garnock ahead at 11 – 6.

Two minutes later and with Garnock well inside the Stewartry half, Walker spied a gap to dart over for Garnock’s second try which he converted into a seven-pointer in 48 minutes to put them 18-3 ahead.

Play settled down with Stewartry showing they were still very much in the game. However, the Garnock tackling was always capable of coping with anything the home side could muster.

In 54 minutes Halbert sped in to score after some fine Garnock inter-passing. Walker converted to extend Garnock’s lead to 25-3.

Garnock were looking for the fourth and Bonus Point try but Stewartry were determined the thwart them and add to their own score.

Garnock were reduced to 14 men when their right winger was yellow carded for a technical infringement in 66 minutes. This only slightly hampered the quest for the fourth try.

It came along in 78 minutes after what was possibly the best handling movement of the game when Fraser Brocket scored after the ball had been fed through several pairs of hands.

Stewartry had the last score when they took a quick tap penalty and released their No 8 Hogg who scored near the touchline. Mosey converted to make it 30-10.

GARNOCK: Matt Shiells, Richard O’Neill, Luke Wynn, Lewis McGeachy, Jonny Watson, Stuart Wilson, David R Miller, Rory Dominy, Keir Walker, Gareth McCrorie, Fraser Brocket, Jared Reekie, Jordan Taggart, Ian Halbert, Tony Woods, Ross Johnston, David Miller, Alan Brocket , Mathew Richmond.

Saturday sees Garnock travel to Fort Matilda to tackle Greenock Wanderers with a 2pm kick-off.