Lochaber struggle with depleted squad against Shawlands

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Shawlands 19-6 Lochaber
Tennents West Region League Division 3

Lochaber RFC travelled to Shawlands in Glasgow on Saturday as the Tennents West Region League Division 3 season resumed after the winter break.

At the start of the season Lochaber had targeted this fixture as a good chance for an away win. However with a depleted squad of only 15 players, which had two wingers and a centre in the forward pack, it was always going to be a challenge.

From the kick-off the ball went straight into touch giving Lochaber a scrum on the halfway.

Lochaber worked their way down the pitch with a few good phases early on, while Shawlands showed they were up for it defensively putting a few big hits in early on.

The Shawlands defence gave away a penalty in a kickable position for Ryan Davies, who proceeded to slot the penalty between the uprights to give Lochaber an early lead.

Shawlands looked to respond after going behind and Lochaber gifted them territory after repeated penalties for high tackles.

Shawlands were soon on Lochaber’s try line. Lochaber were able to keep them out for several phases before they squeezed over the line with their kicker converting from the sideline with a bending kick that looked like it was going wide curling back between the uprights.

With around 12 minutes to go in the first half Lewis Morrison picked up a team yellow as the referee grew fed up with high tackles from Lochaber.

Shawlands really piled on the pressure looking to make that man advantage pay. They kicked to the corner on several occasions but Lochaber stopped their rolling maul each time and when they did get to the try line Lochaber held them up twice over the line and ripped the ball on the try line on one of those occasions.

Shawlands should also have scored a few times with big overlaps created but with some good tackling and breakdown work Lochaber won a few penalties managing to clear their lines on each occasion.

Shawlands finally got their second try in the second half after the referee failed to notice the player knocking the ball on over the try line in the tackle to make it 12-3.

Lochaber’s discipline improved in the second half and it continued to be a tight affair and Lochaber brought the game to within a converted try when Davies kicked another penalty to make it 12-6 with 10 minutes to go.

Lochaber then held the hosts up over the line again as Shawlands searched for another try.

Shawlands worked their way into the left hand corner looking to take a quick penalty but the referee stopped the game with two Lochaber players down injured, Lochaber then went down to 14 men with Dean Hutchinson unable to continue.

Shawlands took the quick tap trying to crash over at close range but Lochaber continued to repel the attack.

But Lochaber’s defence had been sucked in and Shawlands found the space out wide with a perfectly weighted cross field kick for their winger to run on to and score in the corner. With the conversion good it made the game 19-6.

From the restart Lochaber regathered the ball after Shawlands failed to catch the ball and let it bounce.

After making 10m or so and then getting an offload in from a tackle the ref blew up for offside.

Lochaber initially thought they had won a penalty but the referee then gave Shawlands the penalty saying Lochaber had been off side at the kick off.

Shawlands’ kicker then took the penalty from the halfway pinning Lochaber back in their 22. Lochaber made up territory but ran out of time with Shawlands winning 19-6.

Lochaber are on the road again next Saturday against Birkmyre where they expect a tougher test again. Kick off 2pm in Kilmalcolm.