Last Saturday saw the first use of the fabulous new changing facilities at the Lochshore Park Hub
First up was our joint U18 team with Ardrossan who took on Hamilton in a league fixture. This was the first U18 game at Lochshore for a number of seasons. Earlier home games this season had been played at Ardrossan. The squad put in a great performance with boys from both Garnock and Ardrossan excelling. The final result was a 38-17 win for Garnock/Ardrossan
We then moved on to the main event with Garnock taking on near rivals Kilmarnock. Both sides have experienced a reasonable start to the season with three victories and one defeat.
The Garnock squad saw a couple of changes from the previous week with ex-pro Ross McCann dropping out injured and Stuart Wilson being unavailable. Rory Dominy returned to the team following a holiday and was joined in the centres by Iain Waterston. Jared Reekie returned after missing the last few games with an injury
The match kicked off with Garnock playing away from the Hub. Early possession belonged to Kilmarnock and after three minutes they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which was successfully converted 0-3
From the kick off Garnock regathered the ball and worked their way downfield. From a lineout deep in the Kilmarnock 22 Garnock set up a driving maul. Kilmarnocks defence initially held firm however home captain Matt Shiells was eventually able to force his way over the line for the opening try. The conversion was successful 7-3
The match was evenly fought with no quarter asked or given. The next score was a further penalty by Kilmarnock taking the score to 7-6
This reverse seemed to galvanise the home side who again worked their way downfield . With playing reaching the visitors 22 Garnock released their backs with Rory Dominy making an initial break before slipping a pass to Jared Reekie who scored in the corner. Conversion missed 12-6
From the kick off Kilmarnock showed they were not going to lie down and their pack took the ball to their hosts. From a lineout on the half way the ball found the hands of Killie back row Sam Diamond who broke the defensive line before showing a turn of pace to beat two further tacklers to score. Conversion was successful 12-13
What remained of the half was evenly contested before Keir Walker added a long range penalty from the final play of the half. 15 -13
Both sides would have been reasonably happy with their first half performance however both would also have felt some improvement could be made.
The second half was similar to the first with neither side able to gain any real dominance. With 8 minutes gone Garnock were pressing the home line however the ball was turned over and Kilmarnock cleared downfield. The ball was fielded by Jared Reekie who spied a gap and beat his opposite man on the outside before speeding up the touchline to score in the corner. Conversion wide 20-13
Yet again Kilmarnock refused to lie down and a number of infringements by the home side allowed the visitors to move upfield. Ultimately they were awarded a further penalty on the Garnock 22 which was converted 20-16
The see-saw game swung Garnock’s way and Keir Walker added a further penalty mid way through the half to take the score to 23-16
By this time both sides were becoming indisciplined at the breakdown and the resultant penalties were preventing any real cohesion to the game. From one such penalty Kilmarnock were able to secure a lineout on the Garnock 22. Following a couple of midfield phases the ball was returned down the blind side for hooker Jordan Duncan to score in the corner. The conversion was wide. 23-21
The remainder of the game was played predominantly in the Kilmarnock half and to be honest Garnock will be disappointed they did not add to their points tally. On one foray into the Kilmarnock 22 Captain Shiells crossed the line but the referee deemed the ball had been held up and the chance was lost.
With time running out Kilmarnock again had possession and a number of Garnock infringements allowed them to make their way downfield reaching the 10m line. Unfortunately for the visitors a knock-on resulted in a Garnock scrum. The referee indicated the scrum restart would be the final play . Garnock were able to secure the ball and sand-off Chris Neill kicked it over the touchline for full time 23-21
This was a game which could have gone either way with both sides having opportunities which they failed to take. The crowd were well entertained and the closeness of the scoreline to the end kept both sets of fans engaged .
Garnock squad Shiells, O’Neill, F Miller, A Miller, McGeachy, Watson, Ramsay-Miller, Wynn, Walker, Neill, Reekie, Waterston, Dominy, Woods and Perry. Replacements C Wilson, Armstrong, Chapman, J Miller