Derby win for Oban
Oban Lorne 47 Helensburgh 19 Tennent’s West Division 2
Oban welcomed Helensburgh to Glencruitten last weekend for the second leg of the Argyll derby in West Division 2.
The home side were looking to repeat the scoreline achieved in Helensburgh where they ran out 48-29 winners in September.
Oban were forced to make a couple of late changes to the starting line-up with players being delayed by work commitment’s but the reshuffle didn’t appear to upset the rhythm too much.
Michael Mackinnon replaced Kyle Graham in the second row and young Ben MacFarlane-Barrow came in to replace Stephen Povey.
It is encouraging to see the number of young players coming through and competing for places this season.
Oban started brightly and David Cameron finished off a pacey back line move to score in the corner with five minutes of the game gone.
Finlay Carmichael narrowly missed the conversion from out wide.
Helensburgh were quick to bounce back with a penalty kick after one of the Oban players strayed offside at a ruck in front of the posts. The Helensburgh kicker made no mistake with his attempt and the score was back to 5-3.
Oban replied by upping the tempo again and, after a foray deep into the Burgh 22, the referee awarded a penalty to Oban. Scrum-half Vasil Borisow shaped to give the ball to big prop Calum Maclachlan who was steaming in on a great line. This attracted the Burgh defence and the Bulgarian international strolled across the line after selling a great dummy. Carmichael added the extras from in front of the posts and Oban were 12-3 ahead.
Oban were finding their rhythm and were to add to the score sheet with another fine try from Craig Wright. The full-back cruising across the line after being released into space by a some fine back play. Carmichael was on hand again to nail the extra two points with the boot and Oban had stretched the lead to 19-3.
Oban were to secure the bonus-point try after half an hour when captain Iwan Roberts danced his way through the opposition defence to score a fantastic individual try. His fancy footwork and acceleration getting him over the line under the posts. This gave Carmichael another easy conversion to extend Oban’s lead to 26 points to three at half-time.
A number of changes were made at half-time with Kyle Graham replacing Michael Mackinnon, who had another great 40 minutes. He is growing game by game and proving to be a really useful player. Oban also welcomed back David Mclaughlin to the team for only his second game of the season after breaking his ribs in the first game of the season.
Big Calum Maclachlan was next on the scoresheet for Oban. In typical barnstorming style, the big prop from Luing was at his rampaging best on Saturday, swatting defenders out of his way in a man of the match performance. The big fella will be a major loss to the squad in the coming months as he goes in for knee surgery this week.
David McLaughlin then rolled back the years as he collected a kick from Burgh and scythed through the visitors’ defence to be dragged short only a couple of yards from the line.
Oban were then forced into another reshuffle as hooker Radi Maksimov had to leave the game with an ankle injury. This forced a major reshuffle with Borisov having to move to hooker from scrumhalf and a rejig of the back line. With Oban well ahead, the coaching team wanted to challenge the squad with putting players out of position to test them and see how they would react.
This created a window of opportunity for Helensburgh as Oban took some time to settle and they were rewarded with a try after a period of sustained pressure inside the Oban 22.
This took the score to 33-10 in Oban’s favour with 20 minutes of the game to go.
Oban responded well and managed to lift the tempo again and young Lorne Sinclair took a great line off Iwan Roberts to burst through the Burgh defence to score a cracking try.
Craig Wright was to round off the scoring for the day with yet another try. He is certainly having a season to remember scoring his 24th try of the campaign. The flying machine revelling in the extra space being awarded to him from full-back. Finlay Carmichael was on hand again to add the extra two points to bring the final score to Oban 49, Helensburgh 10.
This weekend Oban welcome Strathaven to Glencruitten for the second time this season after the Lanarkshire team came up early on in the season for a West Shield fixture where Oban were comfortable victors. The Argyll men were made to work hard when they visited Strathaven in the league a couple of weeks later and know it will another tough encounter next weekend. Kick-off 2pm.
Saturday’s win lifts Oban Lorne back into second place in Division 2.
The club are also hosting a Christmas ceilidh in the clubhouse this Saturday night with the Dice Ceilidh Band providing the music. All members and non-members are welcome to attend.
Oban Lorne were presented with a new set of strips by the Perle Hotel Group. Pictured are Iwan Rhys Roberts, 1st XV captain; Hamish Matheson, club chaiman; Oban Perle Hotel food and beverage manager Grigorios Pavlou; David McLaughlin, 1st XV player and assistant coach; along with Sandy Rokitta, Oban Lorne club president.
Kyle Graham bursts through the Helensburgh defence.
Oban Lorne captain Iwan Roberts dives over for a try.