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.