Scrum decision packs a punch

Wigtownshire 3, Oban Lorne 13

This was a game which ‘Shire could and should have won. ’Shire created chances galore but pressure was not converted into points!

It has to be said, however, that the game was ruined as a spectacle from the start by the decision to have uncontested scrums. This was because of Oban’s inability, for the second time this season, to field a front row. This was reported to ’Shire management during the week and the decision was made, reluctantly, to accept uncontested scrums, meaning the powerful ’Shire pack was unable to put pressure on the visiting eight and were duly disadvantaged.

The only try of the game, scored by Oban in the second half from a scrum near the ’Shire line with an Oban put in, was made possible because the ’Shire pack could not pressure Oban, who have already been docked three points for failing to produce a front row for the game against ’Shire which should have been played on September 17.

’Shire were without Duncan McCaig, who picked up an injury in training, and lost Neil Irving soon after the start, also to injury.

The game was a huge disappointment for the ’Shire players, who put in a lot of hard work. But in the end their failure to score tries, even when camped on the opposing line, restricted them to a mere three points. Time and time again when a score seemed probable, a penalty was conceded and Oban cleared their lines.

There was some good work between the forwards and some impressive driving mauls which exposed the frailty of the Oban pack, but in the end the outcome was disappointing. The lineout was solid and Eddie Stevenson took a lot of ball there. The ’Shire passing at times was poor, but was not helped by a difficult wind. However, players have to adapt to the prevailing conditions, and long passes in a strong wind are at best risky!

The first half saw ’Shire exert a lot of pressure but the only score was a penalty kicked by the visitors just before the interval. The ’Shire forwards at one point seemed to have driven the ball over the Oban line and the referee had a long look before deciding to award a five-metre scrum. ’Shire had most of the game territorially but were not able to take advantage of their superiority.

The second half was 10minutes old when Tyrell Wilson kicked a simple penalty in front of the posts, making the score 3-3. From the restart Oban attacked and were awarded a penalty 30 metres out and to the left of the posts. It was not an easy kick, but the Oban player was on the mark to edge Oban ahead. Ten minutes later came the killer blow for ’Shire, when from a scrum some 10 metres out, Oban heeled on their own put in and a forward charged over the line under the posts.

For once the ’Shire defence was breached and the scorer was able to burst through several attempted tackles. The try was converted to give the visitors a 13-3 lead. There were still 20 minutes left and the ’Shire faithful were confident it was only a matter of time before the home side would score and get on top. Sadly, it was not to be and there was no further scoring. ’Shire exerted lots of pressure but always a pass went astray or a penalty was conceded. There was a lack of confidence about the ’Shire play, perhaps partly due to the series of heavy defeats in recent games.

Team: N Warwick, S Cameron, J McIntosh, E McCaig, J McKie, T Wilson, J Patterson: M Hastie, G Keith, A Love, K McNeil, C McGregor, R McCreadie, E Stevenson and N Irving. Subs: A Graham, A McFadzean, C Reid, A McMaster, J Dalrymple, A McCurdy.

Jock Smith