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Tennents West Division 2
Oban Lorne 40 Wigtonshire 8
Oban welcomed Wigtownshire Rugby Football Club to Glencruitten on Saturday, looking to avenge one of the few away day defeats of the season.
The ‘Green Machine’ lost 31-14 in Stranraer in October against a side which has struggled for a good run of form since.
After the brilliant weather of last week, the heavens opened a couple of hours before kick off, leaving the pitch greasy which made for tricky conditions for both teams.
Oban head coach Andrew Johnston fielded a strong side including a powerful front row of Calum MacLachlan, Stanley Lister and Corrie Louw.
Oban started brightly but sloppy passing prevented them from taking the lead.
Wigtownshire got their noses in front with a well-taken penalty after an Oban infringement at a ruck.
Oban were quick to respond and, after great lead-up play, Calum MacLachlan, back in the starting line-up for the first time since his knee operation, got Oban’s first try. This was converted by Fergus McCoss who took over the kicking duties for the day in the absence of Finlay Carmichael. Oban 7-3.
A couple of minutes later, Calum MacLachlan scored Oban’s second try, again converted by McCoss to extend Oban’s lead to 14 points to 3.
Oban were playing well despite heavy, incessant rain making it difficult to play the expansive game which has been the trademark of Oban’s season.
Next to cross the line for Oban was young Lorne Sinclair who had another fantastic game in the back row. MccCoss converted again to make it three from three for his conversions on a tricky day for kicking. Oban 21 Wigtownshire 3
Oban made a number of changes with young Kieron Morrison being taken off from out on the wing to be replaced by Steven Parr. Craig Wright, who was a doubt before the game, came off and was replaced by Graham Maceachan. Kyle Graham made way for the veteran Andy MacDougall and Daniel Broderick replaced Lorne Maclachlan.
Oban were to secure the bonus point with the fourth try scored by David Cameron. The young lad has grown in confidence in the last few games as he continues to develop his game. McCoss was just off target with the kick but Oban were well in command. Oban 26 Wigtownshire 3
Calum Maclachlan completed his hat trick of tries for the afternoon with another fantastic run that the visitors struggled to stop. Oban 33 Wigtownshire 3
Fergus McCoss was to finish the scoring for Oban with a fantastic try using his footwork and speed to get past a number of defenders to cross for Oban’s sixth and final try of the day. He stepped up and converted his own try with the help of the crossbar to cap a great performance.
Wigtownshire refused to give up and they were rewarded with a consolation try. Oban gave away a number of penalties which allowed the visitors an attacking line-out inside the Oban 22. The visitors won the line-out and attacked with real purpose desperate to get a score to take back down the road.
Final score Oban 40 Wigtownshire 8.
This win means Oban are guaranteed the second promotion slot as the teams in third and fourth place can no longer catch them with the number of games remaining. This is a fantastic achievement for everyone in a transitional year for the club with a change of coaches and an influx of new players.
It remains to be seen where Oban will be playing next season but hopefully there will be clarity following the meeting on league reconstruction this week.
The West committee circulated four options last week: the status quo of 12 team leagues meaning Oban would be promoted to West 1 next season; 10 team leagues, meaning Oban would remain in division two or two eight-team league models, either of which would be the preferred options of Oban players and management.
Oban have a free weekend this week with Scotland playing Wales in the Six Nations. They welcome Bishopton to Glencruitten on Saturday March 16 and Paisley on Saturday March 23 to finish the season.