Tennent's West One



By Tom Dickson

GARNOCK hosted derby rivals in the form of Kilmarnock Rugby Club, seeking their first league victory of the season.

The team were bolstered by the appearance for the first time this season of Aaron Armstrong and Chris Neill.

Garnock kicked off in pleasant conditions, with the threat of rain in the air. For the first few minutes they held the upper hand.

They were winning the lineouts and their own scrums while disrupting the visitors' set scrums.

In seven minutes, referee Simcox penalised Kilmarnock’s stand-off Smith for offside. Keir Walker converted the award from 47 metres to open the scoring at 3-0.

Play swung from end to end for the next 10 minutes without either side and defences were well in control.

Jared Reekie at centre looked the sharpest with Luke Wynn testing the Kilmarnock forwards with some powerful surges and drives.

In 18 minutes Garnock won a lineout 20 metres from the visitors' try line through Rory Dominy, the ball was fed to the backs. Walker seemed to be blocked in but spied a gap and grubber kicked the ball through for the speedy Ross Johnston to score at the posts. Walker duly converted to put Garnock 10-0 ahead.

With half-time approaching Kilmarnock kicked a penalty into touch at Garnock’s 22-metre line. They won the ball and drove towards the try line where Gary Thornton powered over to score. Alasdair McWhirter converted.

The second half started like the first, with neither side looking like scoring. Garnock were reduced to 14 players when their prop was sin binned for a late tackle. This setback did not alter the home side’s play. They went further ahead on the hour when Walker converted a penalty from 33 metres to make it 13-7.

Back to full strength, the valley squad began to look the better side and play was mostly inside the Kilmarnock half. Scrummages were still going Garnock’s way and lineouts shared.

This changed when Garnock elected to kick a penalty into touch 10 metres from the Killie line. They won the lineout and when Kilmarnock infringed, they again elected to kick for touch at five metres. The pack won the ball and set up a drive towards the try line where Walker, substituting at scrum half, was alert to touch down as the pack shoved Kilmarnock over. The difficult conversion was missed as Garnock moved ahead at 18-7 with five minutes remaining.

The last minutes belonged to Kilmarnock, as they sought to salvage a losing bonus point. They camped well inside the Garnock 22 metre area but the home defence held strong.

GARNOCK: Wynn; Armstrong, Shiells, Watson, McGeachy, Wilson, DR Miller, Dominy, Trodden, Walker, Lee, Reekie, Irvine, Johnston, Perry, J Miller, F Miller, A Miller, Neil.