Rugby special from Oban Lorne RFC

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Green Machine pick up the points

Helensburgh 17
Oban Lorne 23
BT West Division One

OBAN Lorne made the short trip to fellow Argyll rivals Helensburgh RFC on Saturday for the first meeting between the sides this season.
Both clubs have been struggling in BT West Division One this season and sit in 12th and 11th place in the league. The Green Machine have been improving since the start of the season, having put together a recent upturn of results and performances.
Saturday’s squad was a strong one despite the missing player/coach Corrie Louw due to illness. Oban Lorne’s RBS National Bowl winning captain Robin MacQueen came out of retirement to start the game at prop, while there was also a start for centre Andrew Abraham returning to Oban to visit family. Lorne MacLachlan played his last game of the season on Saturday before starting a trip abroad.
It was the visitors who made a bright start to the game at Ardencaple with scrum half Finlay Carmichael putting Oban ahead 3-0 with a well taken penalty.
Having gone a month without a game, Oban were looking a little rusty on occasion and were gifting the home side easy possession.
Helensburgh raced into a 12-3 lead with two tries against the run of play, one of which resulted from an intercepted pass from an Oban Lorne attack.
Dominant
As the first half wore on, Oban’s scrum and forward play were becoming dominant. The front row of Robin MacQueen, Daniel Kemp and Tommy Sutherland were all having a great game allowing Lorne MacLachlan, Jack Baxter and Richard MacKay to have some good attacking runs.
From 12-3 down Oban led 12-13 at the break. Carmichael scored first with a well-taken try, followed by another good penalty attempt.
The second half was commanded well by Oban Lorne who maintained the majority of possession and territory thanks to their dominant set pieces. Iwan Rhys Roberts at stand off was orchestrating his back line well putting Andrew Abraham and captain Craig Wright into good attacking spaces.
Oban were rewarded with a try from man of the match Lorne MacLachlan and another Carmichael penalty that took the score to 23-12. The men in green pushed for a further try but were undone by a Helensburgh defence that proved hard to break down for the majority of the afternoon.
The gloss was taken off Oban Lorne’s crucial win in the last play of the game as another intercepted pass resulted in a try for the home side. Full-time 23-17 to Oban Lorne.
Saturday’s win lifts Oban Lorne into 10th place in the league, six points clear of Helensburgh who remain bottom of the table.
The Oban squad will look to build on Saturday’s win with two fixtures remaining of 2017.
The first is this Saturday away to second-placed Garnock, while they entertain third-placed Kilmarnock at Glencruitten on Saturday December 16.

Ladies concede first try of the season

Royal Dick Vet College 7
Oban Lorne Ladies 61
BT Women’s National League 2

SUNDAY December 3 saw a reduced squad of ladies travelling to Peffermill in Edinburgh to take on RDVC. With no subs available, it was bound to be a tougher game than the ladies had experienced to date, particularly with people arriving late due to navigational issues and their coach unable to travel.
Oban played well in the first half though, forcing multiple penalties from their opposition. The first of these allowed the visitors to attack into the oppositions’ 22 and outside centre Erika Skofca scored the first try after six minutes, successfully converted by fly half Lucy Stewart.
After a penalty to RDVC, Oban fought hard to secure a turn over ball and used their speed and handling skills to reach winger Ellen Barlow who drove over the line for try number two.
Following on from a big hit by Skofca, inside winger Rachel MacDonald scored next, this time converted by prop Ellie MacNiven. Four minutes later, the ladies scored again following a scrum and Skofca diving over the line once more to extend her impressive tally of points scored this season.
Supporters have been impressed by the ladies’ performance in the league to date, willing them to maintain their record of zero points against. But Oban conceded their first points of the season to RDVC following a penalty, with only two minutes of the first half remaining. Nevertheless, the Green Army did not let this disappointment affect their performance, retaliating with a final try, and hattrick for Skofca, before the half time whistle, bringing the score to 7-35 at half time.
The second half saw the visitors in green mainly kept in their own half, playing a defensive game against a spurred on RDVC squad, awarded penalty after scrum after penalty. Despite this, the ladies successfully defended their try line from any other attacks during the game and Skofca carried on her impressive show of both teamwork and individual skill with another three tries to her name.
Conditions were cold as the game played out and the ladies thank the Oban Lorne men’s team players that stepped in to offer support and guidance from the sidelines in what proved to be a tough match in the absence of their usual coaching team. The final touchdown of the game was secured by Stewart, successfully converting her own try to bring the final score to 7-61.
Next weekend the squad travel to Aberdeen to take on the Aberdeenshire Quines in their final match before Christmas. They return to home ground on Sunday January 14 against Ardrossan Women, 2pm kick off.
The ladies train every Tuesday and Thursday 6-7pm, with training on the astro pitch at Oban High School until Christmas due to waterlogged pitches at Glencruitten. Everyone welcome.

Narrow win for Oban Lorne Under 18s

Oban Lorne 19
Newton Stewart 17
West Under-18 League

OBAN’S U18 side welcomed a combined Newton Stewart and Wigtownshire team to Glencruitten on Saturday. The teams had met earlier in the season playing out a 12-12 draw in Stranraer.
The Oban side have gathered good momentum since a patchy start to the season and sit in third place in the table going into last weekend’s game.
It was Oban who made a good start to the game, in particular man of the match James Divers who made some good breaks. The game remained scoreless until 10 minutes as both sides displayed some good, physical defensive work.
After a good attack into the visitors 22, Oban reacted quickly from a penalty with scrum half Sandy Bavington tapping quickly to Ewan Shearer who was brought down short of the line.
The ball was recycled quickly out to centre David Cameron who crashed over for the first try of the day.
Fellow centre Andrew Ritchie converted the kick for a 7-0 lead.
‘Newtonshire’ narrowed the score shortly after as Oban switched off at a five metre lineout to conceded a soft try.
Oban refused to let this dent their confidence as they attacked well from the kick off. Promising runs from David Cameron, James Divers, Euan Shearer and Brych Hensman Martin gave the team a good platform to attack from. On 20 minutes Oban scored their second try of the day. The Oban pack powered the visitors over the line on their own ball allowing Finn Charlton in for a straightforward touchdown. Ritchie again converted for a 14-5 lead.
The visitors hit back with another try narrowing the deficit to only four points at half-time.
Oban pressed for another score early in the second half but knocked the ball on near the line allowing the hosts to break clear.
Oban were reduced to 14 men with winger Robert McLaughlin forced off with a head injury. Oban, with no substitutes, had to play the remainder of the game 14 v 15.
Using the man advantage ‘Newtonshire’ took the lead with another try bringing the score to 14-17.
Another draw would probably have been a fair result but Oban refused to give up and scored a fantastic team try with Andrew Ritchie eventually breaking free down the left touchline to score.
Oban held on at 19-17 to record a hard fought victory.
The U18 side have two remaining games left this season as they make the long trip to Castle Douglas this week to take on Stewartry and finish 2017 with a home game against Ardrossan on Saturday December 16.