Club NewsMatch Reports

Maximum Points at Castle Douglas

By October 1, 2023No Comments

Garnock made the long trip to Castle Douglas to face old foes Stewartry in an attempt to keep their 100% record in National 4. Last season both fixtures between these teams were closely contested and ultimately the two Garnock victories decided the league title.


The Garncok side had a number of changes from the previous week with Gareth McCrorie and Ewan Perry in the backs being unavailable however regular centre Rory Dominy returned and Ally Anderson came onto the wing. Preparations were not helped with powerful prop Luke Wynn pulling up in the warm-up and being unable to take part.


The game marked Jonny Watson’s 200th 1st XV appearance which is a fantastic achievement from the young man.


Weather conditions were a significant contrast with last weekend’s sunshine and the game was played under a constant overhead drizzle however underfoot conditions were good.


The match kicked off with Garnock playing down the slope and the visitors were quickly in to their stride attacking through their strong pack. With only five minutes gone Garnock kicked a penalty to the corner and from the resultant lineout Matt Shiells drove over to open the scoring. Conversion missed 0-5.


For the next period the game ebbed and flowed with both sides attacking. Garnock had the better of the territory however strong defence from the home side kept them at bay. With 20 minutes gone Garnock elected to kick a penalty for goal which was successfully converted. 0-8


Stewartry did not lie down and tried to pin Garnock back with a number of accurate kicks from their stand-off and full-back. They eventually built a period of pressure in the visitors 22. The Garnock defence was coping relatively comfortably however the referee deemed that Garnock had infringed and awarded a penalty in front of the posts. The kick was successful 3-8


With 30 minutes played Garnock again worked their way downfield through accurate kicking from stand-off Rory Walker and strong carries by Ross Brocket and Matt Shiells. A penalty was kicked to the corner and from the resultant lineout Garnock cleverly moved the point of contact in the maul allowing Joe Chapman to drive over. Conversion wide 3-13.


As time was running out in the half Stewartry again launched a series of attacks around the Garnock 22 however they were unable to breach the visitors defence. Once again Garnock conceded and penalty which the home side elected to kick for goal. Penalty successful 6-13 at half time.


On balance Garnock had been the dominant side in the first half and probably should have been further ahead however the damp conditions made handling difficult for both teams .


The opening stages of the second half were similar to the first with Garnock having the majority of possession and attacking through their big ball carriers however despite pressure they were unable to add to the score. As is their style Stewartry tried to run the ball whenever possible however strong defence in the Garnock backs and the jackaling abilities of wing forward Stuart Wilson kept the home side at bay.


Mid-way through the half Garnock were awarded a lineout on the home 10m line. A lineout drive of extreme power pushed the home side back 20m . When the drive slowed it was followed by trademark carry from Ross Brocket who was stopped just short of the line. Following quick ruck ball Matt Shiells picked from the base and drove over. Conversion good 6-20


Garnock were now well on top however this didn’t stop Stewartry from trying to attack when possible however any breaks they made were snuffed out by the Garnock back three. In the set piece scrums were relatively even however Garnock had a clear advantage in the lineout.


With 15 minutes to go Garnock were again in the Stewartry 22 and kicked a penalty to touch. From the lineout Stewartry were expecting a catch and drive however the ball was released to midfield and a strong carry took the ball under the crossbar. Scrum-half Keir Walker spotted a gap around the ruck and stepped through to score. Conversion successful 6-27


The final 10 minutes belonged to Stewartry and they attacked the visitors with renewed purpose. The Garnock defence held firm for numerous phases before eventually running out of defenders allowing Stewartry to score a consolation try. Conversion missed 11-27


There were no further additions to the scoreline and the referee blew for full time with Garnock comfortable winners.


The victory sees Garnock remain at the top of the league with five bonus point victories from five games played. Next week Garnock welcome North Berwick to Lochshore with a 3pm kick off


Garnock squad Shiells, Armstrong, Chapman, Watson, Miller, S Wilson, Ramsay-Millar, Brocket, K Walker, R Walker, Wynn, Dominy, Reekie, Anderson, Woods  Reps C Wilson, Craig, McGeachy, Smith