BT WEST DIVISION 1
SATURDAY 15TH OCTOBER 2016
OBAN LORNE 17-15 CARRICK
Oban Lorne welcomed familiar visitors Carrick RFC to Glencruitten on Saturday hoping to build on last week’s convincing 47-7 win over Helensburgh. The two teams have faced each other on numerous occasions over the past few seasons in league and shield duty. The Greenmachine were hoping to make amends n Saturday for two heavy defeats to Carrick last season.
The home side had a strong squad for the game but were dealt a blow pre match with Andy MacDougall pulling out due to injury and Richard MacKay being unable to get to the game after his car suffering a breakdown.
Steven Povey started in MacKays absence in the back row while there was a debut for second row Deivid Petrov in place for Andy MacDougall.
Carrick made the better start to the game and were ahead with the first try of the game after only a few minutes of play to lead 7-0. Oban were struggling early on to cope with Carrick’s more mobile pack and were falling foul of the referee’s whistle by giving away too many penalties at the breakdown.
With their first notable possession of the game Oban stormed into the Carrick half pressurising the away side. Eventually the hosts were awarded a kickable penalty that was comfortably slotted over to narrow the score to 7-3.
Carrick regained possession from the kick off and were looking dangerous in the Oban half. Just as the Oban defence won their ball back being awarded put in at a scrum, they team were dealt a huge blow. Number 8 Cammy Smith picked and went from the resulting scrum but badly twisted his knee in the following tackle. Smith was replaced by Connor Ferris meaning player/ coach Corrie Louw moved into number 8.
Oban’s head were down at this point and the team were getting nowhere with the referee by continually giving away penalties at the breakdown or for being offside. Carrick took advantage of this by scoring a close range try after a sustained period of pressure to lead 12-3.
The hosts improved following this score with some powerful runs from the likes of Steven Povey, Jack Baxter and Tommy Sutherland allowing Finlay Carmichael to release his dangerous backline.
Oban hit back with another penalty from Carmichael taking the score to 12-6 before storming back in the Carrick 22 for another period of promising attacking play.
With advantage being played, Prop Connor Ferris showed of his past fullback skills by chipping over the defence where an onrushing Calum MacLachlan almost scored Oban’s first try of the day. Oban were called back by the referee and Carmichael again slotted over the penalty to bring the score back to 12-9 and take the hosts right back into the match.
Carrick though had other ideas and again looked dangerous with the ball in hand securing possession close to the Oban line. Oban’s poor discipline creeped back in aiding the visitors in their efforts.
The most notable event of the match took place on 30 minutes as Oban looked to have cleared their lines. Oban Centre Dave McCabe was called over by the referee and was sinbinned for being offside in the previous play which was fair considering the high number of penalties given away previously. McCabe however was then shown a second yellow card and a resulting red card for reasons still unclear to everyone apart from McCabe and the referee.
A stunned Oban Lorne were now 15-9 down after the Carrick kicking over the resulting penalty but were now forced to play the rest of the match with only 14 men.
The whole Oban team knew they had to up their individual effort levels if they had a chance of staying in the game. This looked to be the case as Oban made a comfortable start to the second half and could have narrowed the gap if a Carmichael penalty did not hit the bar bouncing back into play.
Carrick were failing to make their numerical advantage count and were looking a little shaky with the ball in hand electing to kick at the Oban back three rather than breaking down the defence.
On 50 minutes Oban found themselves with a 5 metre scrum after forcing the visitors back to their line after a succession of penalties. Oban were now looking on top despite being a man short and the momentum of the game including the referees whistle was now in their favour.
Two successive scrums were brought down by Carrick resulting in one of their props being sinbinned. Oban elected for the scrum again and after a few phases of ‘pick and go’s’ Prop Tommy Sutherland crashed over the line for Oban’s only try of the game much to the delight of the now noisy support. Carmichaels kick narrowly missed but Oban were now full of confidence and were right back in the game trailing by only one point, 14-15
With 10 minutes remaining Oban captain Craig Wright broke free from a powerful run within his own half. Right darted through the Carrick defence and was unlucky not to score being taken down metres from the tryline. After just returning to 15 men Carrick had another player sinbinned after a foul at the following ruck preventing Oban an attack at the line.
Finlay Carmichael put Oban ahead for the first time in the game with another penalty taking the score to 17-15 in Oban’s favour with only 8 minutes remaining.
Carrick threw everything at Oban in the remaining minutes but could not get past a stubborn, although tiring defence. The visitors setup a nervous finish to the game by winning a penalty in their own half and electing to kick for the corner. Fortunately for Oban the ambitious kick sailed too far and went out past the tryline. This was the last play of the game as the referee blew the fulltime whistle much to the jot of the Oban Lorne team and supporters.
The Greenmachine were left delighted taking a win from a game that seemed to go so much against them in the first half. The players should be very proud of a very hard working performance where their second half showing more than merited a narrow win.
Carrick are an impressive team and will still finish high up the table. The Ayrshire side though seemed to play within themselves in the second half and lost confidence as the match wore on.
The result lifts Oban Lorne into mid table with a game in hand against the sides around them. The Greenmachine will be hoping to again build on their performance as they travel to face Garnock next Saturday who have so far been performing above expectations this season. Kick off 3pm at Lochshore.
Oban Lorne v Carrick
T. Sutherland, D. Budge, C. Louw, J. Baxter, D. Petrov, S. Povey, L. MacLachlan, C. Smith, V. Borisov, F. Carmichael, A. Franzo, D. McCabe, C. Wright ©, C. MacLachlan, I. Rhys Roberts
C.Ferris, A. Johnston, R. Maksimov, R. Bertrand