BT West One



GARNOCK travelled to Annan to take on the side who beat them in the first round of the West Shield, looking to put a better show than they did last September. Although Annan were missing a few regulars, Garnock succeeded in producing their highest scoring total of the season so far.

In all they scored 10 tries in a game they dominated from the start.

Annan kicked off towards the clubhouse end in bright but bitterly cold conditions. The home side kept Garnock pinned inside their own half for the first couple of minutes before Gareth McCrorie forced them back with a deft kick and chase which was touched down by Annan.

Play swung about the half-way line with neither side generating any scoring chances.

In nine minutes Jordan Taggart scored at the posts when he raced past defenders after McCrorie had breached the first line of Annan’s defence. Keir Walker converted to make it 7-0 in Garnock’s favour.

Annan almost scored in 13 minutes when their stand off slipped through the Garnock defenders but extra cover was there to thwart the stand-off.

In the 16th minute Fraser Brocket was on hand to round off a Garnock move which saw the ball travel the hands of Walker, McCrorie, Taggart and Jared Reekie. Brocket finished the move of in style, Walker converted and Garnock moved 14-0 in front.

Garnock went further ahead when Walker saw a gap appear at a maul near the Annan line to dot the ball down for an opportunistic try. The difficult kick was missed and the score moved on to 19-0.

At this point, Annan came more into the game but Garnock were beginning to rule the lineouts and dominate the set scrums. The Garnock tackling was always able to halt the few intrusions from the home players.

It was no surprise that Garnock scored the bonus point try before half-time, when again Brocket scored after great work by the forwards allowed the backs to set up the score. Walker converted and Garnock went in at half time 36 points in front and looking much the better side.

The second half started in much the same way as the first had ended with Garnock attacking the Annan line. Only a last- ditch tackle prevented Taggart from scoring in the opening minute. However, it only delayed the inevitable.

In 47 minutes, Garnock won a scrum in mid-field. The ball was transferred from Walker to McCrorie to Taggart and when full-back Ewan Perry was brought into the movement a try was scored. The difficult conversion was missed and the score moved on to 31-0.

During the half a further five tries were scored.

In 49 minutes, the Garnock backs again cut through the home defence to allow Brocket in for his third try of the match. The kick was missed and the score became 36-0.

In 54 minutes, Walker added the seventh try when he was fast enough to see a gap and sped through after the Garnock pack won another set scrum. The kick was missed.

Rory Dominy was next on the score sheet in the 62nd minute when he broke away from the base of a scrum to score at the posts. Walker converted to push Garnock further ahead at 48-0.

Perry scored the ninth try in 73 minutes after the Garnock line jumpers won the ball on an Annan put in on the home 22 metres line. The ball was fed out and the ever-alert full back scored his second at the posts. Walker converted to make it 55-0.

The final try came in the last minute when Reekie rounded off another good handling by the Garnock backs after the forwards had won a scrum on the half way line. Slick handling made the space for the Garnock centre to speed through and dot down at the posts. Walker converted and the final score became 0 – 62 for the valley squad.

This was a crushing victory for Garnock and brings them back into the promotion hunt. Although the Annan squad were missing some regulars then never gave up trying to run the ball where possible. On the day, Garnock were much the better side. Their play was positive and always with a purpose in mind.

GARNOCK: Shiells; O’Neil, Wynn, McGeachy, Watson, DR Miller, Johnston, Dominy, Walker, McCrorie, Brocket, Reekie, Taggart, Halbert, Perry, Chapman, D Miller, Richmond, A Miller.

On Saturday, Garnock travel to East Kilbride to take on the local much improved squad with a 3pm kick-off.