Oban Lorne 28-12 Irvine

Oban Lorne welcomed fellow league strugglers Irvine RFC to Glencruitten on Saturday in what was a battle of the leagues bottom placed teams after the first three rounds of league fixtures.
The home team have had a tough start to the season since a narrow home loss to Garnock at the start of the campaign being followed by heavy defeats to Kilmarnock and table topping Allan Glens. Oban were also dealt a blow last weekend with the club being forced into calling off the away fixture to Annan due to a lack of available front row options.
Head Coach Corrie Louw along with Team manager Darrell Williams have rallied the troops over the past 10 days or so helping create a more positive outlook on how the season is going which has helped recent training session becoming more enjoyable and productive for all involved.
The Oban squad for Saturdays match was the strongest group available so far this season. Both Jack Baxter and Jack Strachan returned forming the second row pairing while Hooker/ Winger Radi Maksimov was welcomed into the backline. There was also a notable place on the bench for former club captain Cameron Smith who has been missing for almost a full season due to a knee injury.
Oban started the game well and attacked with intent against a heavy and physical Irvine side. With only 10 minutes gone Oban managed to race into a 10-0 lead with a hard worked try from second row Jack Strachan along with a conversion and penalty from scrum half Finlay Carmichael.
As Oban looked to kick on from their promising start Irvine brought themselves back into the match with their first score of the day narrowing the deficit to five points.
The first half proved to be a close affair with both teams cancelling eachother out at the breakdown area. Oban were struggling to maintain any consistent possession mainly due a misfiring lineout. Oban did manage to extend their lead before the break with two Carmichael penalties taking the score to 16-5. Reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes due to Andy MacDougall’s sin binning for kicking the ball out of the scum on the Irvine tryline, Oban had to work very hard in defence as the away side looked to make their man advantage count.
After seeing out the first half Oban kicked on in the second 40 minutes and extended their lead again with a try from back row Lorne MacLachlan. MacLachlan crossed the line from a well worked move moving to the blindside of the scrum taking the score to 21-5.
Irvine refused to give up and used their direct style of play to great effect in scoring their second try of the day reducing the score to 21-12.
With 20 minutes remaining Oban welcomed back Cammy Smith onto the pitch at inside Centre allowing Winger Maksimov to move into the front row for Daniel Kemp. Smith wasted no time in getting back on the scoresheet bagging a try after a long period of Oban Lorne pressure on the Irvine line. Oban now led 28-12 with another Carmichael conversion.
Oban were comfortable in the remaining 15 minutes or so of the game but never really threatened to score the vital fourth try that would have brought a valuable bonus point. Much credit must go the hard working Irvine team who proved extremely hard to breakdown and provided a huge physical test for the Oban Lorne pack.
In the end Oban Lorne were left delighted with their 28-12 win that will hopefully kick start the team into some promising results over the next month or so with a winnable run of fixtures upcoming.
Supporters at Glencruitten will be hoping for more of the same this Saturday as the club welcome mid table East Kilbride RFC. Saturdays result lifts Oban into 11th place in the table but now in touching distance of the majority of team above them.
Saturdays fixture with East Kilbride kicks off 3pm at Glencruitten. All welcome.
Oban Lorne:
C. Louw, D. Kemp, T. Sutherland, J. Strachan, J. Baxter, A. MacDougall, S. Povey, L. MacLachlan, F. Carmichael, I. Rhys-Roberts, V. Borisov, T. Harrison, C. Wright, D. McLaughlin.

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