Club NewsMatch Reports

Garnock Retain Top Spot

By November 19, 2023No Comments

Garnock faced second placed Whitecraigs at Lochshore on Saturday. The match was played in difficult overhead and soft underfoot conditions


This was a must win fixture for each team as both sought to cement their place as title contenders. The reverse fixture earlier in the season had been a close fought affair with Garnock coming out narrow victors.


Garnock kicked off playing away from the Hub and with the benefit of the slight slope. The early stages were evenly fought with both sides trying to run the ball where possible. Play was a little stop start with a number of handling errors due to the conditions.


With 12 minutes gone Garnock were awarded a midfield penalty which they kicked into the 22. From the resultant lineout Garnock set up a driving maul which was well defended by the visitors however scrum-half, Keir Walker, spotted an unmanned blind side and went over untouched. Conversion successful 7-0


It was evident from the early exchanges that Garnock had the upperhand in the set piece. Due to a misfiring lineout Whitecraigs were reluctant to kick to the sidelines and tried to keep ball in hand wherever possible. This included running penalties from all areas of the pitch.


The Garnock defence generally coped with relative ease however Whitecraigs had their moments when the home defensive line was breached. On one such occasion they made ground into the home 22. The defence held firm however the visitors were awarded a penalty which they successfully kicked for goal . 7-3


For the remainder of the half Garnock had the majority of territory whereas Whitecraigs had the larger share of possession. Garnock spurned two good scoring opportunities knocking on over the line on one occasion and being penalised for a double movement on the line on a second. There was no further score until the 39th minute when Garnock were awarded a penalty 35m out but in front of the posts. The penalty was successfully kicked for goal bringing the half-time score to 10-3


Whitecraigs started the second half in determined fashion and pressed hard in the Garnock 22. Resolute defence kept the visitors at bay . Not to be outdone Garnock began to go through the phases and strong forward carries combined with sharp attacking in the backs took play into the Whitecraigs 22. The referee spotted an infringement from the visitors awarding Garnock a penalty which was kicked for goal extending Garnock’s lead to 13-3.


The next 10 minutes was almost entirely attack from Whitecraigs with a significant period of play 10m from the home line. Physical defence kept the line intact and eventually Garnock skipper Matt Shiells turned the ball over allowing Rory Walker to clear to halfway.


The visitors determination to run the ball at every opportunity was admirable but perhaps unwise in the conditions  and the Garnock backline coped with whatever was thrown at them with relative ease.


After 25 minutes of the half Garnock were enjoying more possession and a strong break from No8, Ross Brocket, saw the him carry from halfway to the 22. From the breakdown the ball went wide with outside centre Jared Reekie breaking the defence only to be tackled 5 yards from the line. The ball was quickly recycled and Matt Shiells crashed over . Conversion good 20-3


Garnock had the majority of the territory for the remainder of the half however were unable to add to the scoreline with the match remaining 20-3 at full-time


This was a good but not perfect performance from the home side and there is definitely more to come. There is no doubt Whitecraigs are a good side and they are likely to win the majority of their remaining fixtures.


Next Saturday Garnock have another home game against North Berwick who were East Division 1 champions last season. Kick off is at 2pm


Garnock squad  Shiells, C Wilson, L Wynn, Watson, A Miller, S Wilson, Ramsay-Millar, Brocket, K Walker, R Walker, S Wynn, Dominy, Reekie, Woods and Jacobson. Reps  Chapman, D Miller, McCrorie, Anderson