On Saturday Garnock travelled to Castle Douglas to take on Stewartry. Following defeat to Glens the previous week our hosts were keen to get back to winning ways in what has been an impressive season for them
The game started with Garnock attacking the clubhouse end . The first five minutes were all Garnock and play was almost entirely within the Stewartry 22. However excellent defence from the home side kept the strong Garnock pack at bay.
With 10 minutes gone Stewartry finally secured some decent possession and a breakout up the right wing resulted in a try between the sticks. The simple conversion took the home side 7-0 ahead
The pattern of play then followed what had proceeded with Garnock pressuring the home defence and Stewartry looking very dangerous with the limited possession they obtained. On 13 minutes with play stagnated around half way Stewartry made a break through Garnock defence once again scoring under the crossbar. Conversion was successful 14-0
It was clear that Stewartry fancied their chances with ball in hand and they were keen to spread the ball wide at every opportunity. After 30 minutes Stewartry were awarded a penalty around halfway and sticking to their game plan they took a quick tap and spread the ball to the wing. Missed tackles by the visitors once again resulted in a try between the posts and a further 7 points , 21-0
With 5 minutes of the half remaining Garnock were again attacking through their forwards in the Stewartry 22. Following a number of infringements by the home side Garnock kicked a penalty to touch 5 metres out. The lineout was secured and the Granock pack drove over the line with Keir Walker being the man to touch down. Conversion missed. 21-5
As the half drew to a close and Stewartry in possession they once again broke the Garnock line and the covering defence was unable to stop the attack. Another try between the posts made the half time score Stewartry 28 Garnock 5
The pattern of play in the second half was similar to the first with the visitors enjoying the majority of possession but Stewartry constantly threatening in their backs.
After 55 minutes Garnock had a lineout close to the Stewartry line. Possession was won and the pack drove over the line with hooker Richard O’Neill being the man in possession over the line. Conversion from wide out was narrowly missed, 28-10
With 60 minutes on the clock Garnock backs entered the attack and decent handling resulted in centre Reekie breaking up the touchline before he was tackled in to touch 5 metres from the line. The referee deemed the tackle to be high and the Stewartry winger received a yellow card. The resultant penalty was kicked to touch and the big Garnock pack set up a driving maul and scrum half Keir Walker sniped up the blind side to score in the corner. Conversion missed 28-15
From the restart Garnock failed to secure the ball and a period of pressure from the home side followed. Garnock appeared comfortable defending their line before the referee considered captain Matt Shiells had infringed at a ruck 5 metres out and sent the skipper for a 10 minute rest on the touchline. As before Stewartry took a quick tap penalty and scored between the posts , 35-15
With time slipping away Stewartry found themselves defending their line however a knock on by a Garnock player gave Stewartry a scrum out in 5m from their line. Somehow they secured possession from the scrum (which had gone down) and took the opportunity to attack. The Stewartry winger made a strong run into the Garnock half before offloading the ball to a supporting player who again scored between the posts , 42-15
The restart kick was won by Jonny Watson and the passage of play which followed resulted on Stewartry conceding a penalty 10 metres out. Unsurprisingly Garnock elected to kick to touch. The resultant driving maul was illegally collapsed by the home side and referee awarded a penalty try, 42-22
The final minutes of the match were relatively uneventful before referee Galloway blew for full time.
This was a game of starkly contrasting styles with Garnock having the dominant pack and Stewartry the more cohesive and dangerous backs. Stewartry thoroughly deserved the win although the scoreline may not have accurately reflected the difference between the sides
Thanks go to referee Galloway and his assistants for producing an entertaining game for the spectators.
Garock squad Shiells, O’Neill, Chapman, McGeachy, Miller, Watson, Ramsay-Miller, Brocket, K Walker,R Walker, Williams, Dominy, Reekie, Woods, Jacobson. Repl. Wilson, Ruxton & Smith