Newton Stewart RFC 31
Oban Lorne RFC 20
BT West Division 1
An afternoon of glorious sunshine last Saturday made for some unusually pleasant playing conditions at Bladnoch Park as Newton Stewart RFC welcomed Oban Lorne for the return leg of the previous weekend’s long journey.
Having played each other only seven days before, the Reds could remember all too clearly the punishing physicality of the Oban team and the braced themselves for more of the same to come.
The early stages of the game were tight-knit. Newton Stewart were managing to win the ball in the scrum, a feat which had evaded them against the sizeable Oban pack at the away game, however some frustrating mistakes stopped them utilising the possession they had and ultimately Oban had much of the territory during the early play.
As the Reds settled into the game, the passes starting connecting and they now began to threaten their opposition. 25 minutes in Newton Stewart found their way over the try line for the first time when some strong running from centre Craig Johnstone created an opportunity for back row David Montgomery who powered over the line from short range. Stand-off Jamie Muir narrowly missed the conversion.
Maintaining the pressure they were now applying, Newton Stewart had a good spell of attacking rugby. Some tidy passing and quick recycling of the ball had the Oban defence stretched and desperate. Back row Russell Gaw felt the brunt of their frustration when he was subject to a clumsy high tackle, and a penalty was awarded to the home team. Centre David Sommerville made an uncharacteristic error when kicking to touch and Oban were able to keep the ball in play. Their possession was short-lived however when another infringement gave a further penalty to Newton Stewart. Sommerville found touch this time and the Reds took full advantage of it. Camping on their opponents try line now, the line-out resulted in scrum half Robbie McCornick getting the ball down in the near corner for a try. Muir found his target with this conversion to take the score to 12-0.
With the momentum behind them Newton Stewart continued their onslaught. Only a matter of minutes passed before Robbie McCornick delivered a well-timed reverse ball to David Montgomery who collected it at pace and whose powerful running was once again unstoppable to score his second try. The conversion followed, and only an Oban penalty in the dying moments prevented Newton Stewart from whitewashing the first half.
After the interval the Reds had the wind in their faces, and knowing the resilience of their opposition, they prepared for the fight back. First blow of this half went to Oban when they were awarded another penalty which was kicked cleanly to make the score 19-6.
Newton Stewart now came on the attack once more, running the ball from deep and creating opportunities for themselves. A scrum in the Oban half was the platform for a well rehearsed back row move which ultimately saw fullback Tyrell Wilson receiving the ball in space and once again utilising his impressive pace to cut through the opposition defence for a try. Muir converted and the lead stretched once more.
As was the case the week before, Oban’s big and powerful runners showed stamina too to keep the Newton Stewart defence working hard as the game ticked on. A period of sustained pressure from the visitors eventually wore a hole in the impressive Reds defence and they produced a converted try.
The remainder of the second half was a tightly contested affair. Newton Stewart spent much of their time in determined defence but counterattacked with gusto when the opportunity presented. On their own try line coach Alisdair Gaw, on from the bench, ripped the ball from the Oban attack. David Sommerville put his boot to the ball then followed up his kick with an impressive chase. Collecting the ball he sent it to Fraser Galloway who carried it right to the try line before off-loading to Montgomery, who knew his way over the line by now to score another try.
Another try followed for Oban with only minutes left on the clock. Once again their kicker produced the goods to make the final score 31-22.
Man of the match this week must be the unstoppable David Montgomery. Scoring three exceptional tries, he was immense with the ball in hand and time after time simply bulldozed through some huge opposition. His was an impressive performance this week.
Special mention also to Tyrell Wilson who showed confidence running the ball from deep and created opportunities by doing so.
The last home game for this season is this weekend, Saturday 12th March, against Allan Glens. Kick off is at 3pm, the club look forward to welcoming a large turnout of supporters.