Garnock Remain in Top Spot
As reported by Tom Dickson
Garnock travelled to Annan in their sixth league match of the season looking for a victory to keep them in first position of the West Division 1 Regional League. Annan were undefeated, had only played 2 matches and were in 5th position but, on paper, were one of the contenders for promotion this season.
The Garnock squad was on similar lines with most of their players available for the game at Violetbank. Their kick-off forced Annan well into their own 22 metre area.
The home stand-off James Bingham relieved the pressure with a kick to just inside Garnock’s half. The line out was duly won through Jonny Watson and the Garnock forwards drove towards the Annan line.
Desperate defence from Annan resulted in a line out 12 metres from the try line. This time the ball was fed out to the backs where Per Jacobson and Rory Walker combined to release Jared Reekie who sped through the Annan defenders to score a try well out. The difficult kick was missed but with 8 minutes played Garnock moved into a 0 – 5 lead.
Play continued as before for the next 10 minutes with the Garnock forwards being the dominant force. Several scrums were won and the line outs were being shared.
Annan began to creep back into contention and were awarded a penalty 30 metres out when Garnock strayed offside. Bigham converted to make the score 3 – 5 after 18 minutes.
Annan’s pressure saw them camped inside the visitor’s half however the Garnock defence held strong. They won three scrums in a row and from the third Luke Wynn picked up a loose ball and burst through from 8 metres to score. Again, the difficult conversion was missed and the scoreboard recorded 3 – 10 after 34 minutes.
Play slackened off for the rest of the half with honours being shared in that both defences were able to cope with the threats posed. Half time came without further scoring.
The second half continued as with the first with the Garnock pack well on top and looking to release the speedy backs whenever possible.
Both sides were reduced to fourteen when a centre from each was yellow carded after 50 minutes play. This did not seem to upset the home side and in the 55th minute they were rewarded when following collection of a kick Annan were able to score at the posts. The conversion tied the score at 10 apiece.
This setback saw Garnock tighten up their general play and constant pressure on the Annan 22 metre line saw Annan stray offside once more. From 35 metres Keir Walker converted to push Garnock ahead at 10-13 after 65 minutes.
Five minutes later Annan winger, Josh Whiteside, waltzes through to score near the left touchline. The conversion was missed and Annan led 15 – 13.
Garnock kept pressing forward and Reekie scored his second try of the day when he touched down beside the posts. A successful conversion made the score 20 – 15 in Garnock’s favour.
The visiting side set up a series of attacks and advanced deep inside the Annan half. It was no surprise when they rounded off these attacks when Richard O’Neill broke through the Annan defence to score the Bonus Point try which with the conversion being missed made the score 25 – 15 for Garnock at the final whistle.
This was a thoroughly deserved victory for Garnock. At no point in the game was their victory not within their grasp. Forwards and backs seemed to know where the advantages lay and played to exploit these. Defending was up to standard and this resulted in Annan being defeated for the first time in this season.
The Garnock squad on the day was (1-19) ;- Matthew Shiells, Connor Wilson, Luke Wynn, Lewis McGeachy, Jonathan Watson, Rory Dominy, David Ramsay-Millar, Ross Brocket, Keir Walker, Per Jacobson, Jared Reekie, Rory Walker, Declan Goldie, Anthony Woods, Craig Williams, Richard O’Neill, Anthony Chapman-Donnelly, Alan Miller and Ewan Perry.
Garnock have no game next Saturday (16th October) – the next scheduled game is at Lochshore on 23rd October against Kilmarnock with a 3 o’clock kick-off.