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For the third week in a row Oban Lorne were on their travels looking to keep up the good form of previous weeks as they travelled to Strathaven in South Lanarkshire.
The two sides had previously met four weeks ago in the first round of the West Shield where Oban managed to secure a comfortable victory.
The Green Machine arrived slightly behind schedule at the fantastic new facility at Strathaven Rugby club to find that they were going to playing on the new 3G pitch – an amazing facility and a model of what could be achieved by other clubs in the regional leagues.
Strathaven started the game strongly and put Oban under pressure right from the off.
Some spirited and well organised defence allowed the Green Machine to hold out for 10 minutes before the constant pressure told and Strathaven crossed the line for the first try of the afternoon.
Oban were dealt a further blow after 15 mins when young back row forward Daniel Speirs had to leave the field of play with a nasty looking shoulder injury which looks like it will keep him out of action for the next six weeks or so.
Oban closed the gap with a well-struck penalty kick by Finlay Carmichael to make it 3-7.
Oban were now finding their feet on the new playing surface. Quick reactions from turnover ball allowed the ball to be switched wide to the wing where veteran winger Roddy Morrison rolled back the years as he found his wheels to race in from the halfway line to score Oban’s first try of the day. This was converted by Finlay Carmichael.
Oban continued to work hard defensively to keep the Strathaven attack under control. After Strathaven coughed up possession in the middle of the pitch Craig Wright found space in behind with a deft kick and chase to claim his first try of the afternoon.
One of the Strathaven players took exception to something that was said and was yellow carded for his reaction. Carmichael was once again on target with his kick to stretch Oban’s lead to 17-7 which was to be the half time score.
Just before the interval Oban were dealt a further blow when Calum MacLachlan received a yellow card for being offside at a ruck when Strathaven were deep in the Oban 22.
The second half started with Oban working hard to get on the front foot and they were rewarded with another fantastic try. This time No 8 Owen McDonald broke free from just outside the 22 and managed to ground the ball over the line after initially trying to ground the ball over the football lines marked on the artificial pitch.
Shortly after this Oban had to reshuffle the team again as Graham MacEachan strained his hamstring and young Andy Ritchie came on to the wing with David Cameron moving to centre from the wing.
Strathaven were posing problems for Oban with their very direct forward play and from an Oban mistake close to their line and another dubious penalty decision awarded against Oban the hosts kicked to the corner and from the ensuing lineout they drove over the line for their second try of the day.
Oban were quick to hit back with Craig Wright once again finding space on the outside to outpace the defence out wide and score in the corner. Finlay Carmichael continued his amazing strike rate with the boot notching his fourth kick of the day on top of a 100 per cent success rate last week.
Another try for Strathaven was to follow when Oban worked really well to turnover ball deep in their 22. As the ball was worked to the back of the ruck it crossed the tryline and one of the Strathaven players dived through the ruck to ground the ball and the referee awarded the try.
This brought an end to the scoring for the day with a final score of Strathaven 17 Oban 31.
This was a fantastic effort by the Oban team who managed to pick up their third bonus point win on the trot away from home. This was by no means an easy win with Oban living off scraps of possession as Strathaven dominated this area with their limited game plan of hitting a pod one out and recycling. The Oban defence were happy to let them have ball and fill the field ready for the next phase. Still some work needed to sharpen up the defence but the team looks dangerous any time it gets to attack.
Saturday’s win lifts Oban Lorne into second place in West Division two with Lenzie RFC sitting out in front only on points difference. The two teams have a maximum of 20 points from their first four league games and meet in next in the league on Saturday October 6 in Lenzie.
This week Oban welcome Dalziel to Glencruitten for the quarter final of the West shield. Dalziel haven’t had the best of starts to the season but will be hoping to get their season back on track playing a team from a lower league.
Oban will have to up their game considerably to meet this challenge and would like to invite to any former players of Oban Lorne up to the rugby club for a pie and a pint pre-match. Kick off 3pm.