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On a cracking day for rugby, with the sun splitting the sky and the pitch at Glencruitten in fantastic condition, Oban Lorne welcomed four other squads to their second annual Tower 10s tournament.
Joining Oban on the day were local sides Lochaber and Isle of Mull along with National Division 3 side Hillhead/Jordanhill and Craig Dunain.
Oban fielded two sides on with a 1st XV and a Oban High School former pupils team led by Fergus Bradbury.
This abbreviated version of the game is perfect for pre-season, allowing new head coach Andrew Johnston to evaluate a number of players ahead of next weekend’s West Shield match against Strathaven.
Oban fielded two very strong looking sides with a mixture of youth and experience through both teams.
The first match of the day saw Oban 1st XV welcome local rivals Lochaber who brought a youthful squad down from the Highlands. A tight first half was played with both teams struggling to adapt to the speed of the game and saw only one try scored through Oban’s Andy MacDougall on a powerful surge from five metres out.
The second half was a different story altogether with two further tries for Oban from Craig Wright and Matt Walker, with Lochaber securing two late consolation tries as Oban fell off a couple of tackles. Oban won in the end four tries to two.
Next up was the Oban FPs led by Fergus Bradbury who played Inverness Craig Dunain led by former Oban player Struan Simpson. The Oban team found their feet quickly and raced into a three-try lead in the first half with scores from Allan Wright, Daniel Spiers and David McLauglin all converted by Finlay Carmichael.
Craig Dunain scored a couple of great tries of their own in the second half before a try for Stephen Povey gave Oban a bit of breathing space. Final score was four tries to two for the FPs.
Oban then met Hillhead Jordanhill in the next match. The team from National League 3 were expected to be the sternest test of the day.
Oban started strongly and were quickly on the scoreboard with a try for new club captain Iwan Rhys Roberts. This was quickly followed by a try for another new member of the squad, Callum Murray, who is a new PE teacher at the high school.
Oban took a two-try lead into half-time. Hills hit back early in the second period with a well-taken try out wide. Oban responded well to this with two further tries for Callum Murray and one for Matt Walker to see them home. A very assured performance against a team from two leagues above.
Friends from over the water from Isle of Mull were the next opponents for the FPs team and their strong tradition in sevens rugby shone through as they raced into an early two-try lead with a couple of fantastic long-range scores. The FPs team managed to rally at half-time and scored three unanswered tries through Allan Wright and a double from David McLaughlin to edge out the islanders by three tries to two.
Mull had to back up this fixture with a small rest period against the Oban team. They carried on where they had left off in the previous game causing problems for the Oban defence with their speed of play and were rewarded with a well worked try from Sean Black. Oban responded with another try from Callum Murray whose pace looks set to cause opposition defences problems in the coming season as he is a flying machine.
Further tries for Oban came from Radi Maksimov, the Bulgarian international showing good acceleration and strength to score under the posts. Another for Iwan Rhys Roberts and another for Callum Murray to a single score from Mull saw Oban win by four tries to two.
The FPs next opponents were Lochaber, who were growing with confidence as the tournament progressed. A great try from young Robert McLaughlin from Dalmally was a great start. This was followed by a brace from David McLaughlin either side of half-time and topped off by Allan Wright, who looked impressive at scrum-half all day. Lochaber scored two consolation tries.
Next up for Oban was Craig Dunain and the team were full of confidence and enjoying the way the competition was developing. This was a fantastic performance with Oban in complete control. A total of seven tries were scored with another brace for Callum Murray along with tries for Matt Walker, Radi Maksimov, David Cameron and Iwan Rhys Roberts leading to a comprehensive victory.
Oban’s last match of the day was the inter-club game against the FPs. Oban dominated the first half with tries from Andy Ritchie, Calum MacLachlan and Radi Maksimov. Oban were playing a very expansive game and this was causing problems for the FPs’ defence, who leaked three further tries to Lorne MacLachlan, Borisow Vasil and another for Iwan Rhys Roberts to a single reply from young Sean Gordon, who looks really promising. A wee bit more confidence and we will see how fast he can really be.
The last game of the day was the FPs v Hillhead Jordanhill who had been rotating their squad of 22 players in each game. A couple of injuries meant it was a mix and match Oban team who struggled with an element of fatigue and just couldn’t get going. Hillhead ran in three tries to Oban’s one to bring an end to the competition.
The new president of Scottish Rugby, Dee Bradbury, presented the Tower 10s trophy to newly appointed Oban captain Iwan Rhys Roberts to bring to the end a very successful day.
Some excellent rugby was on display from all teams which gives hope for the forthcoming season.
Oban Lorne have still a number of players to make an appearance this season and the squad is looking fit and strong.
Oban Lorne would like to thank all the clubs who travelled to take part in Saturday’s event and will look forward to welcoming the teams back to Glencruitten for 2019’s festival.
Many thanks must also go to the ladies team for organising the burgers, Willie Malone for organising the referees and to Argyll and Bute groundsman Ian Hay for preparing the pitches for the event.
Oban Lorne appoint new captain
Oban Lorne are delighted to announce the appointment of Iwan Rhys Roberts as 1st XV club captain for the 2018/2019 season.
The Welshman, who has impressed in the back line over the past season, takes over from fellow back Craig Wright, who has led the team for the past two seasons.
It is an exciting time for Iwan to be appointed captain with a large number of new and young players moving into the squad as the team look to bounce back from last year’s relegation to West Division 2.
Everyone at the club wishes Iwan and his team all the best ahead of the new season.
Tennents West Regional Shield – preliminary round
Oban Lorne take to the field this Saturday for their first competitive fixture of the new season as they welcome fellow West Division Two side Strathaven RFC to Glencruitten.
The two sides will contest for a place in the 1st round of the West Regional Bowl.
The first round tie will be played on Saturday August 25 with Oban or Strathaven facing the winner of the Cambuslang v Annan tie that will also be played on Saturday.
Kick-off this weekend is at 3pm, and all welcome to come along and watch.
Oban Lorne’s first Tennent’s West Division 2 fixture of the season will be played at home to Cumbernauld RFC on Saturday September 1, kick-off 3pm at Glencruitten.