Argyll and Bute win local derby against Mull Rugby
BT West Division 4
ARGYLL and Bute took on local rivals Isle of Mull RFC at North Connel on Saturday in the second meeting of the teams this season. Isle of Mull, who have been unlucky not to have won all of their games so far this season, won 22-3 in the reverse fixture at Garmony earlier in the season.
With Oban Lorne’s BT Division 1 game with Allan Glens being postponed, Argyll were strengthened by some 1st XV players to cover some key positions and add some experience to a youthful team.
Argyll went ahead with a try in the first 10 minutes. Craig Wright burst onto a good pass from Dave McCabe to slice through the Mull defence and touch down under the posts.
The Mull team did not let this dampen their spirits and scored a fantastic runaway try from their own half as Argyll lost control of the ball in contact. Stand off James Gibbons converted to tie the game at 7-7.
Argyll dominated the majority of possession and territory in the first half with a high number of scrums and lineouts in the Mull 22. The Muileachs defence stood firm and managed to turn Argyll over on a few occasions and clear their lines. Despite Argyll and Bute having the majority of possession the away side looked dangerous on a couple of occasions when they managed to break free from their own half, with the final pass letting them down.
The Argyll team finally managed to break down the impressive Mull defence with Craig Wight scoring his second try of the afternoon for a 14-7 halftime lead.
Argyll were frustrated at the break that they did not have more points on the board but were up against a Mull side who were making life difficult and also had a vastly improved scrimmage from the previous meeting between the teams.
Argyll made a great start to the second half and scored their third try of the game within five minutes. Dave McCabe’s miss pass found South African winger Sandile Khumalo out wide who raced in from the 22 for his first of two tries; 21-7 to Argyll.
The hosts built on their lead adding a further two scores. A try from Steven Parr was followed by a second from winger Khumalo for an impressive 35-7 lead.
Despite the scoreline there was always a sense that the islanders were going to remain in the game. Mull hit back with a score from Gareth Tait to reduce the deficit to 35-14.
Argyll, however, responded immediately with stand off McCabe scoring beneath the posts to finish Argyll’s scoring for the day.
With 10 minutes remaining Mull fought hard to get back into the game. Replacement stand off Finlay Carmichael pulled the strings to create two tries for the visitors in the closing stages with the last try a runaway winner for try of the day. The final score read 42-26 in Argyll and Bute’s favour in an entertaining game between two friendly neighbours.
The result gives Argyll and Bute their first points of the season while Mull still sit in third place. This Saturday Argyll and Bute travel to Scotstoun, the home of Glasgow Warriors to take on Hyndland RFC while Mull face league leaders Police Scotland RFC at Garmony.
BT National League Div 1
OBAN Lorne were again left frustrated on Saturday with their West Division 1 fixture at Allan Glens being called off due to an unplayable pitch. This is the third league match the past four weeks that has fallen as a result of the West Coast weather.
The positive for Oban Lorne was the impressive performance of Craig Wright and Dave McCabe, who gained some vital game time in Argyll and Bute’s West Division 4 fixture along with some other 1st XV players. Notably Callum MacLachlan came off the bench for Argyll in his comeback from a hamstring injury.
Oban Lorne sit in fifth place in the table having won three games from five. The Green Machine have a few games in hand on the teams around them and will be hoping to climb back up thie table prior to the turn of the year.
The Green Machine host lowly Cambuslang RFC at Glencruitten this Saturday, kick off 2pm. Oban recorded a bonus point 34-16 win at Camubuslang in the opening fixture of the season.
Women’s Bowl - Quarter Final
ON A COLD and wintery Sunday in Cupar, Fife a squad of eight Oban Ladies were joined by seven players of the up and coming National Development League team Helensburgh, to take on Howe of Fife on their home pitch. Recent storms made for slippery pitch conditions but the players from both the Oban and Helensburgh teams gelled quickly to field a strong force to be reckoned with.
The girls in Green took control of the many scrums that were dealt out to dominate the first half, even despite the difficult conditions underfoot. They were able to keep Howe pinned back in their own territory for the majority of the initial 40 minutes, with the most noticeable break coming from a clever kick just beyond their five-metre line. It was quickly chased down and tidied up by a Howe player, who was tackled whilst scrum half Audrey Barr quickly arrived on the scene to steal the ball but was unfortunately called up by the referee for an unknown reason.
The referee was quick to admit her mistake but (again to everyone’s confusion) the resultant scrum was awarded to Howe and unfortunately did not result in the try that Oban deserved.
With some game changing events, unfortunately not seen by the referee, including a punch to Oban’s stand off Emma Roxburgh by a Howe of Fife player and early engagement in the scrums, the Oban team had not managed to convert their effort into points, and the first half ended evenly on 0- 0.
The start of the second half began with a couple of storming runs by Howe’s winger to bring the score to 0-10 after only a few minutes.
Oban responded by re- organising their defensive line and the remainder of the latter half went on in a similar fashion to the first.
Again, scrums were the theme of the game with an increasingly muddy pitch. Oban players were penalised for not rolling away under the posts and Howe capitalised on their mistake to slot another three points over the posts, bringing the score to 0-13.
The Green Army stayed in the game to the last minute and managed a consolation score in the dying moments of the game after winning a scrum, allowing their winger to run up the pitch and touch down.
The final score was 5-13 and, with referee decisions consistently not falling in their favour, Oban narrowly missed out to a tough and physical, well drilled Howe of Fife team who will go on to play in the semi-final of the BT Bowl.
Player of the match was Emma Roxburgh, who came back for this match from a previous injury to demonstrate some impressive tackling and an outstanding control of the game. The Oban Ladies travel to Edinburgh next weekend for a league game against Broughton, with their next home game not until 2016.
The ladies’ train every Wednesday at the Oban Rugby Clubhouse from 6- 8pm, with beginners very welcome.
T4 West U16 Conference
OBAN’S U16 rugby team made a long trip to Ardrossan on Sunday for the team’s West U16 league fixture.
Despite only having 13 players due to some last minute call offs, Oban managed to record an impressive 43-22 win against a well- drilled Ardrossan team. This Sunday the U16 side travel to take on Hillhead/ Jodanhill
T4 West U18 Conference
OBAN U18s played out their second fixture this season with a convincing 61-5 win at Cartha Queens Park in Glasgow.
Oban fielded a strong squad with help from players at Mid Argyll and Kintyre. This is another positive step forward for U18 rugby in Oban after the teams first outing at Cumbernauld that saw them win 17-5.
This Saturday the U18s are at home to Cumbernuald RFC. Kick off noon at Glencruitten.
T4 Schools Conference OBAN High Schools S1, S2 and S3 teams will take part in their latest School Conference Fixture away to Shawlands Academy on Wednesday. Oban have played previous fixtures with Duncanrig, Dalziel and Williamwood in the new SRU Schools setup so far this season
ON THE RUN: Alan Wright looks on as Argyll and Bute’s Craig
McGuire drives past the opposition.
PILE UP: Players from both teams do everything they can to try and secure the ball.