Oban Lorne edge Argyll derby match against Helensburgh
OBAN Lorne welcomed Argyll rivals Helensburgh RFC to Glencruitten on Saturday. The teams had an early kick off to accommodate the visitors request to get back and allow them to watch the World Cup final at their home clubhouse.
Helensburgh were sitting above Oban going into the game but had two games in hand over the Green Machine who were hoping to close the gap on the teams above them.
On a greasy pitch following the heavy overnight rain it was the visitors who made the brighter start. Helensburgh pinned the Green Machine back into their own half for extended periods of time.
On the rare occasion that Oban managed to get out of their own half they were undone with some poor decision making and some dubious refereeing decisions much to the home crowd’s frustration.
Around halfway through the first half, Oban were awarded a penalty just outside the Helensburgh 22 – duly converted by Craig Wright for a 3- 0 lead.
Helensburgh were fairly one di- mensional in their approach to the game kicking for the touch lines and trying to set up driving mauls which were easily repelled by the Oban forward pack.
The Oban back line were looking to play a more expansive game using the speed outside and were unlucky not to unlock the visitors’ defence a couple of times with the last pass just not going to hand. These attacks were being launched from too far out to be effective but showed a willingness to play the game with width and speed.
Pressurising The second half started with Oban playing the territory game better getting the ball down field and pressurising the visitors’ back three. This territorial advantage allowed Oban to finally break into the Helensburgh 22 with some really dynamic and direct play.
Following a series of quick rucks Tommy Sutherland was on hand to crash over the line to score the only try of the day – 8- 0.
Oban dropped off the pace and let Helensburgh back into the game due to a high penalty count from the referee.
Helensburgh converted one of these penalties to make the score 8-3 going into the closing stages.
The visitors picked up the space for the last ten minutes and the Oban defence managed to hold out a continued spell of pressure with some heroic tackling to close out the game.
Despite the narrow score line there were some great performances from the team including twins Cammy and Struan Smith in the back row and Dan Fox at inside Centre.
Oban now face a tough trip to rivals Carrick RFC next weekend. The Ayrshire men lost their first league game of the season at Newton Stewart last weekend.
Oban will be looking for another win against a side they have enjoyed playing over the past few seasons. Kick off is 2pm in Maybole.
Oban Lorne: C. Louw, R. MacQueen, T. Sutherland, J. Baxter, A.MacDougall, C. Smith, S. Smith, L. MacLachlan, D. Ma, D. McCabe, C. MacLachlan, D. Fox, C. Wright, S. Khumalo, R. Stones.
R. El Sanchez, V. Borisov, J. MacMillan,
MAKING A SPLASH: Oban Lorne’s Rufus Stones makes a dash and a splash to secure the ball.
ON THE RUN: Craig Wright puts in the legwork and fights off the opposition in a run which led
to the try.
TRY TIME: Tommy Sutherland, No 3, powers his way over the line to secure the first and only try
of the game.