Green Ma­chine lose to Car­rick

With two games in hand on the teams above them Oban will be con­fi­dent of climb­ing the ta­ble in their re­main­ing four league fix­tures

The Oban Times - - Sport -

OBAN Lorne made the long trip to Ayr­shire on Satur­day to take on pro­mo­tion chas­ing Car­rick RFC in May­bole.

The two sides have met on sev­eral oc­ca­sions in re­cent years with Oban usu­ally hav­ing the up­per hand on their ri­vals. In Novem­ber the Green Ma­chine recorded a nar­row 17-15 win against Car­rick de­spite play­ing 60 min­utes of the match with only 14 men. The Oban team were con­fi­dent go­ing into Satur­day’s game af­ter record­ing a morale boost­ing 47-25 win over Ar­gyll ri­vals He­lens­burgh last week­end. Go­ing into the game, Car­rick were hun­gry to for a bonus point win to keep up the pres­sure on first-placed New­ton Ste­wart, while Oban Lorne were look­ing for some much needed points to keep in touch of the teams above them go­ing into the clos­ing stages of the sea­son.

Seventeen-year- old back row Daniel Speirs made his first start for the club on Satur­day af­ter com­ing off the bench at half time the pre­vi­ous week­end. Car­rick started the game well and dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory in the Oban half in the open­ing ex­changes. The away de­fence, how­ever stood firm to deny the hosts of an open­ing score. As the de­fence held firm on the try­line, a cou­ple of silly mis­takes fur­ther up field even­tu­ally let the hosts in for the first try of the day to lead 7- 0. The Green Ma­chine man­aged to hit back straight away from the early onslaught, with a penalty for the hosts be­ing off­side and slot­ted over by stand- off Fin­lay Carmichael, nar­row­ing the score to four points.

Oban built on this shortly af­ter, with Car­rick kicking the ball straight down the throat of Welsh full back Iwan Rhys Roberts who passed the ball out wide to pow­er­ful winger Calum MacLach­lan, much to the de­spair of a few Car­rick de­fend­ers who failed in their ef­forts to stop the Oban man scor­ing in the cor­ner. Oban were now 8-7 ahead. Mid­way into the half Oban were play­ing well forc­ing the home side to give away penal­ties at the break­down but were un­done with more silly er­rors.

It was some need­less mis­takes again that let Car­rick in for their sec­ond try of the day to lead 14- 8. The re­main­ing 10 min­utes of the first half was end to end with both sides at­tack­ing well. Three penalty kicks were ex­changed, two to one in Oban’s favour with Carmichael’s six points from the boot tak­ing the score to 17-14 for the hosts at half-time.

For the first 40 min­utes Oban had com­peted ex­tremely well with a team eight places above them in the league ta­ble. Coach Cor­rie Louw en­cour­aged a good start to the sec­ond half, un­for­tu­nately it came to noth­ing.

Car­rick caught their own kick off at the start of the sec­ond half pass­ing the ball wide to score al­most im­me­di­ately ex­tend­ing the score to 24-14. In what was now be­com­ing a high scor­ing and en­ter­tain­ing game Oban man­aged to again hit back with an­other penalty to bring the score to 24-17.

Things were look­ing a bit brighter for Oban at this stage with Car­rick be­ing brought down to 14 men with a sin bin­ning for per­sis­tent in­fringe­ments as Oban pressed for­ward.

The nu­mer­i­cal ad­van­tage should have helped the Green Ma­chine but Car­rick dug deep and scored against the run of play ex­tend­ing the lead to 29-17.

Carmichael’s boot was keep­ing the away team in touch with an­other penalty re­duc­ing the deficit to nine points.

Oban pressed for a try and had a good pe­riod of pres­sure on the hosts try­line. Un­for­tu­nately pos­ses­sion was given away and Car­rick were quick to race up field and score their fifth try of the day.

An­other try for the home side fol­lowed shortly af­ter tak­ing Oban out of con­tention at 4320.

The vis­i­tors re­fused to give up and hit back with a con­so­la­tion score from young back row player Stephen Povey af­ter some good work in the li­ne­out. This gave a fi­nal score of 43-27 in the hosts favour in a hugely en­ter­tain­ing 80 min­utes of rugby.

Satur­day’s re­sult still leaves the men in green sit­ting 9th in the league ta­ble but still in touch with Kil­marnock in 8th place. With two games in hand on the teams above them, Oban will be con­fi­dent of climb­ing the ta­ble in their re­main­ing four league fix­tures. Glen­cruit­ten will hold a po­ten­tially league de­cid­ing fix­ture on Satur­day Fe­bru­ary 11 with first placed New­ton Ste­wart need­ing a win to clinch the West Di­vi­sion 1 ti­tle.

This is a re­ar­ranged game from ear­lier in the sea­son and should at­tract a big crowd in what is an im­por­tant match for both teams, par­tic­u­larly that of the vis­i­tors.

This Satur­day, Oban Lorne take a break from league duty and face West Di­vi­sion 2 lead­ers Ste­wartry RFC in the quar­ter fi­nal of the West Re­gional Bowl com­pe­ti­tion.

Satur­day’s game will be played at Glen­cruit­ten with kick off at 1.30pm to al­low for ex­tra time if re­quired.

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