Nar­row home win over Garnock throws Lorne rel­e­ga­tion life­line

A minute’s si­lence was held be­fore the game in mem­ory of John MacEachen

The Oban Times - - Sport -

OBAN Lorne wel­comed mid ta­ble Garnock to a wet Glen­cruit­ten on Satur­day look­ing for a much needed win in the bat­tle against rel­e­ga­tion to divi­sion two. The Green Ma­chine have been per­form­ing well since the turn of the year and ran league win­ners New­ton Ste­wart very close in the pre­vi­ous week­end’s match at North Con­nel.

A minute’s si­lence took place be­fore the match to mark the pass­ing of Oban Lorne RFC stal­wart John MacEachen, who sadly died last week.

John was among the mem­bers of dis­tinc­tion at Oban Lorne and a loyal sup­porter of the club. He served as cap­tain and pres­i­dent and, most re­cently, helped over­see the 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions.

John was in­flu­en­tial in the plan­ning and con­struc­tion of the club­house. John epit­o­mised the ethos of rugby and spirit of the game. He will for­ever be re­mem­bered by all at Oban Lorne RFC. Thoughts of all at the club are with the MacEachen fam­ily at this time.

Player/coach Cor­rie Louw wel­comed back stand- off Dave McCabe back into the team as well as a re­turn for back row Struan Smith. Prop Alex Banks also started the game in place of Rhys Brodie while 17-year- old Daniel Speirs made a start in the back row. Oban gained the ball from the kick off with Struan Smith’s break up­field putting the de­fence on the back foot. The home side failed to build on this early prom­ise as the vis­i­tors took pos­ses­sion of the ball and kicked clear.

This early break ended up be­com­ing Oban Lorne’s only mean­ing­ful at­tack of note in the first half with much of the re­main­der of the open­ing 40 min­utes be­ing con­trolled by the vis­i­tors.

With the con­di­tions de­te­ri­o­rat­ing, Garnock ap­plied some good pres­sure on the Oban try­line but were de­nied sev­eral times with some fan­tas­tic de­fence. Oban flanker Vladi Mi­hov was soak­ing up tackle af­ter tackle while Garnock’s play­ers even­tu­ally ran out of ideas in at­tack.

Oban were re­duced to 14 men 10 min­utes from half-time with winger Vasco Borisov be­ing sin­binned by lo­cal ref­eree Wil­lie Malone. Bo­riov was caught up in an off-the-ball in­ci­dent with the Garnock play­ers, who’s vo­cal touch­line sup­port did their best to worsen the sit­u­a­tion by get­ting in­volved in the sit­u­a­tion and en­ter­ing the field of play. Garnock pressed for an open­ing try but were un­done by some poor back­line play on a few oc­ca­sions af­ter some good work by the for­wards to keep up the pres­sure on the Oban line.

At half time the score stood at 0- 0 in what had been an ul­ti­mately un­event­ful first half of rugby.

Af­ter lit­tle at­tack­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties of note so far in the game Oban made their way into the Garnock half early on in the sec­ond half se­cur­ing a scrum in the 22. A back row move down the blind­side se­cured pos­ses­sion near the line where Oban prop Tommy Sutherland even­tu­ally bun­dled over for his sev­enth try of the sea­son. Fin­lay Carmichael neatly slot­ted over a tricky con­ver­sion as Oban led 7- 0. Garnock re­fused to let Oban’s try dent their con­fi­dence as the same pat­tern of play as the first half re- emerged with the vis­i­tors gain­ing the ma­jor­ity of pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory. Again Oban’s de­fence was out­stand­ing and the work rate of the home for­ward was at times heroic with some fan­tas­tic tack­les. The vis­i­tors even­tu­ally man­aged to breach the Oban try­line as they lev­elled the scores with 20 min­utes to go at 7-7.

Much of the re­main­der of the game was played in the mid­dle of the pitch with both sides fail­ing to cre­ate any no­table at­tack­ing plays of note. Oban did look dan­ger­ous at times but were thwarted by some poor han­dling at times and fall­ing foul of the ref­eree’s whis­tle at the break­down.

With less than five min­utes re­main­ing Oban were awarded a penalty 30 me­tres out close to the left hand touch­line. Scrumhalf Fin­lay Carmichael stepped up and com­fort­ably scored the re­sult­ing place kick send­ing Oban into a 10-7 lead.

Garnock at­tacked hard form their own half in the clos­ing sec­onds and, in strange cir­cum­stances, kicked the ball into touch once play had reached the 80-minute mark. Amid the con­fu­sion at the fi­nal whis­tle, Oban were left de­lighted with their nar­row and clin­i­cal win that lifts the team only one point adrift of eighth-placed Kil­marnock.

Rugby

Safety in West Divi­sion One lies firmly in Oban Lorne’s own hands with two matches re­main­ing this sea­son. They will play away to Irvine RFC (date TBC) be­fore what will be a win­ner-takes-all fix­ture against Kil­marnock on Satur­day March 25 at Glen­cruit­ten. The win­ner of that match will seal sur­vival in the divi­sion while the loser will be rel­e­gated to divi­sion two. Oban Lorne have a break of two weeks be­fore their next fix­ture as fa­mil­iar op­po­nents Car­rick RFC travel to Glen­cruit­ten to play out the semi-fi­nal of the West Re­gional Shield com­pe­ti­tion.

The Green Ma­chine have pro­gressed to the semi-fi­nal stage af­ter a big 55- 0 win over divi­sion two side Ste­wartry, while Car­rick set up the tie with an im­pres­sive 19- 0 win at East Kil­bride. Irvine RFC await as the West Re­gional fi­nal op­po­nents, the date for the fi­nal is TBC. The match against Car­rick will be played at Glen­cruit­ten on Satur­day March 4, kick off 3pm.

Oban Lorne RFC play­ers ob­serve the minute’s si­lence be­fore Satur­day’s game against Garnock. Pho­tos: Stephen Law­son

Oban prop Tommy Sutherland forces his way over the line to open the scor­ing last Satur­day.

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