The Oban Times - - Sport -

OBAN Lorne pro­gressed to the semi-fi­nal of the BT West Shield af­ter a hard-fought win over a phys­i­cal Pais­ley side at Glen­cruit­ten on Satur­day.

The Green Ma­chine were in con­fi­dent spir­its prior to the game de­spite miss­ing sev­eral play­ers due to work com­mit­ments and a long in­jury list. No­table ab­sences for the game were cap­tain Cammy Smith along with twin brother, Struan, while sec­ond row pair­ing, Jack Bax­ter and Lorne Ma­cLach­lan, missed out with in­juries.

Pais­ley made a con­fi­dent start to the game and pegged Oban back in their own half with some clever kick­ing from stand- off, Martin McKel­lar. The visi­tors were also mak­ing their mark on the break­down early on with their big, phys­i­cal back row play­ers forc­ing some well-worked penal­ties at the ruck. Pais­ley led 3- 0 af­ter 10 min­utes with a well-taken penalty.

Oban grew into the game, but were un­done by fail­ing to se­cure pos­ses­sion at the li­ne­out. The home side’s play was also damp­ened with a bad knee in­jury to back row, Jamie Bate, who looks set to miss the fol­low­ing few months of the sea­son.

The Green Ma­chine im­proved in the sec­ond quar­ter of the match and were re­warded with two penalty kicks from stand­off Fin­lay Carmichael, to lead 6-3. Lorne pressed for a try shortly be­fore half­time. A break from cap­tain for the day, Craig Wright, al­lowed pow­er­ful sec­ond row, Airi­das Sav­ickas, a free run for the try­line. The Oban player was taken down short by Pais­ley be­fore Oban had sev­eral phases of play on the try­line.

Frus­trat­ingly for Oban, the first half ended with the ball be­ing held up over the line and the ref­eree blow­ing the half-time whis­tle.

Oban scored the first try of the day shortly into the sec­ond half. Craig Wright pounced upon a mis­take in the Pais­ley back­line to hack the ball through, over the line and touch down un­der­neath the posts. A Carmichael penalty in­creased the score to 13-3. The home side took con­fi­dence from this and were now at­tack­ing with more pur­pose. Sub­sti­tute Calum Ma­cLach­lan was im­press­ing with some good runs from his own half, while the Oban scrum was im­prov­ing.

Fin­lay Carmichael was de­nied Oban’s sec­ond try of the game as the stand off was tack­led into touch just short of the try­line af­ter a great break from Oban scrum half, Graham MacEachan.

Just as Oban were look­ing for the score to put the re­sult be­yond doubt, Pais­ley hit back with a great try from within their own half, al­beit with some poor de­fend­ing from Oban.

With the score now at 20-10, Carmichael set­tled the home side’s nerves with another penalty to give a 23-10 score­line with just over 10 min­utes to play. Pais­ley pressed for a late try, but could not break down a stern home de­fence.

Oban man­aged to hold on for a hard fought 23-10 win against a well- or­gan­ised and phys­i­cal op­po­si­tion. Pais­ley will have a very suc­cess­ful sea­son in Di­vi­sion 2 go­ing by this game.

The vic­tory means that Oban Lorne progress to the BT West Shield semi-fi­nal where they have a long trip to An­nan RFC on Oc­to­ber 17. An­nan de­feated Kil­marnock 46-13 to reach the semi-fi­nal.

Oban Lorne are back to league ac­tion this Satur­day with a dif­fi­cult trip to New An­nies­land in Glas­gow to take on Glas­gow Ac­cies. Both sides recorded bonus point wins in the open­ing round of the league sea­son. Kick off is at 3pm.

Mean­while, on Satur­day, Ar­gyll and Bute RFC take on neigh­bours, Isle of Mull RFC, at Gar­mony, with a kick- off of 1pm.

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