BT WEST DIVISION 1
SATURDAY 25TH FEBRUARY 2017
OBAN LORNE 21-14 KILMARNOCK
Oban Lorne and Kilmarnock met at the stunning surroundings of North Connel on Saturday for what was the most important game of the season for both teams. A win for either side would seal survival in West Division 1 for next season while defeat would lead to the drop down into Division 2.
The Men in Green were full of confidence going into the game after an upsurge in performances and results since the turn of the year. Coach Corrie Louw had a full strength team available for the match with the players hungry to make amends for what has largely been a disappointing campaign.
With Kilmarnock recording a home 23-10 win over Oban at the start of the season they too were confident of a promising result and travelled with a strong squad and a large group of vocal supporters.
It was the visitors who started strongest in the game and held the majority of possession with some good carries form their powerful back row players. Kilmarnock’s back three were to impress all day by dealing very well with some challenging kicks from Oban stand off Dave MacCabe.
Oban weathered the early storm and found themselves 6-0 up after 20 minutes with two well taken penalty kicks from scrum half Finlay Carmichael. The dominance of the Oban scrum was starting to have an effect in the match while Kilmarnock’s inconsistent lineout aided the cause for Oban Lorne.
Both teams exchanged missed penalty attempts around the half hour mark with Carmichael’s long range effort falling just short for Oban.
With the majority of play taking place in the middle of the park no try scoring opportunities came of note until the last 5 minutes of the first half.
A clever chip by Craig Wright into the right hand corner of the pitch was first gathered but then miss controlled by the Kilmarnock defender allowing Oban Winger Tom Harrison to gather the ball and touch down under the posts for Oban’s first try of the game. A successful conversion from Carmichael increased the score to 13-0 going into halftime.
Oban were in buoyant mood at the break knowing they were largely in control of the match and required the next score in the second 40 minutes that would effectively seal the win. The team were though wary of Kilmarnock who possessed several impressive players and who had the potential to turn the game.
The momentum gained at the end of the first half continued into the first 10 minutes of the second half of play as Oban dominated field position and territory. The continuing dominance at the scrum was turning possession over on numerous occasions giving Oban a great attacking platform to work from.
Oban extended their lead on 50 minutes as powerful winger Callum MacLachlan crashed over through a few Killie defenders increasing the score to 18-0. MacLachlan had been getting his hands on the ball on at any opportunity possible in the second half much to the frustration of the away side who found him very difficult to stop.
With an 18 point lead Oban should have closed out the game but as has happened many times this season the team decided to make things very hard for themselves.
On 55 minutes Oban were reduced to 14 men with Centre Malcolm Kavanagh being sin-binned for an alleged dangerous tackle. Kavanagh had defended extremely well in the Oban midfield so far and would be a big miss defensively. Oban also mad a change at this stage with Prop Alex Banks making way for experienced veteran Prop Andrew Johnston.
Kilmarnock took full advantage of their man advantage scoring their first try of the day narrowing the score to 18-7. Shortly after Oban hit back to calm the nerves of the big home crowd with anther Finlay Carmichael penalty increasing the lead to 21-7.
Oban made a couple more changes to the team with youngsters Jack Strachan and Daniel Speirs coming on to provide a bit more pace to proceedings.
Despite being restored to 15 men Kilmarnock were now in control of the match and were throwing everything they could at the Oban defence to launch a spirited comeback.
Oban Lorne were dealt a huge blow going into the last 15 minutes of the game with Malcolm Kavanagh receiving a second yellow card for an off the ball incident with a member of the Kilmarnock team. The home side would again play with only 14 men for the rest of the game.
The majority of the large North Connel crowd were silenced with 10 minutes to go as Kilmarnock used an overlap out wide well to score in the corner. A fantastic conversion attempt narrowed the score to 21-14 taking the visitor’s right back into the match.
Fortunately for the men in green the players dug deep in the closing stages of the game with some heroic tackling and clever territorial kicking managing to nullify the Kilmarnock attack.
As the fulltime whistle blew Oban were extremely relived at the outcome of the match sealing their survival of the team’s position in the league. The Oban players and supports showed their respect to the opposition who fought extremely well in the match and do not deserve to drop down a league given the attacking style of rugby they play. Kilmarnock RFC should come straight back into the league next year with the squad they possess and everyone at Oban Lorne wishes them well for the season ahead.
Saturdays win lifted Oban Lorne two points above Kilmarnock into 8th place in the league. Oban Lorne play their final match of the season away to mid table Irvine RC this Saturday. Kick off 3pm.
Training continues every Tuesday and Thursday evening at Glencruitten from 7-9pm, all welcome.
T. Sutherland, R. MacQueen, A. Banks, V. Mihov, A. MacDougall, S. Smith, L. MacLachlan, C. Louw, F. Carmichael, D. McCabe, C. MacLachlan, M. Kavanagh, C. Wright, T. Harrision.
A. Johnston, J. Strachan, D. Speirs, V. Borisov
BT WEST DIVISION 4
GLASGOW UNI MEDICS P-P ARGYLL & BUTE
Argyll & Bute RFC’s last away match of the season was postponed away to Glasgow University Medics on Saturday as Argyll failed to raise enough players for the fixture. A new date for the game will be set by the West Regional Leagues Committee.
This Saturday Argyll & Bute play their last home game of the season as the welcome local rivals Cowal RFC from Dunoon to Glencruitten. Cowal RFC have been performing well this season and just recoded a fantastic 29-27 win over promotion hopefuls Lanark RFC last weekend.
Saturdays game kicks off at 3pm a Glencruitten.
BT WOMENS NATIONAL LEAGUE 2
ANNAN WARRIORS P-P OBAN LORNE LADIES
With Annan Warriors RFC no playing a Quarter Final National Bowl tie this Sundays league meeting between Annan and Oban Ladies has been postponed. The next scheduled game for Oban Lorne Ladies is away to Lismore RFC in Edinburgh on the 9th of April.