RBS West League Division, Oban Lorne v Cambuslang
Oban hosted the league leaders Cambuslang for a first ever league match between the teams. Oban’s spirits had been lifted by their battling away win at Wigtownshire the previous week and the return of Struan and Cammy Smith to the side once more. There were still several players unavailable in addition to the long term injuries which has been the worst for many years so Jamie MacMillan, Allan Wright Connor Kerr and Calum Maclachlan all dropped out of the team from last week. Encouragingly this week the club still had a strong squad to select from despite no less than 10 first team players being sidelined!
From the kick off Oban Lorne showed that their defensive efforts last week had been no fluke as they closed down Cambuslang’s free running backline and pressurised the visitors into mistakes at the rucks and in open play that gave Oban the advantage. At this stage the teams looked very evenly matched with possibly only the home lineout misfiring occasionally due to so many players playing out of position. Gradually Oban grew in confidence as there had been few scoring opportunities for either team and most of the play was now in Cambuslang’s half. One glorious series of forward pick and go’s deserved better when Louw, Burns and then MacDougall all made ground with the latter player being penalized for not releasing when stopped 1 meter short of the try line. There was one long range penalty that McCallum could not convert which made it 0-0 at half time. The visiting left winger was sent to the sin bin for a repeated hands in the ruck offence at this penalty giving Oban a 10 minute advantage. Although there was no score it had been a marvelously intense match with the contrasting styles of play between the teams adding to the interest.
The visitors were the first to score on 45 minutes with a 30 metre penalty conversion by their stand off. Oban continues to have the better of territory and possession and on 55minutes flanker Andy MacDougall powered over from a short range tap penalty taking several defenders with him for an unconverted try.
The visitors back 3 were starting to look dangerous with their fullback being given too many opportunities to run back some loose and aimless kicks from Oban which put the home side under pressure. This allowed the visitors to gain field position for another penalty to go ahead again by 5-6 in this see saw match.
Oban stormed back into the match and in a repeat of the first half forward effort several players were involved in some text book pick and drives which breached the visitors defence allowing MacDougall to finish off beneath the posts for his brace and a converted try giving the Green Machine a deserved 12-6 advantage with only 10minutes remaining. Cambuslang through everything into attack with Oban mainly looking comfortable in defence and indeed the home team had a 40 meter penalty effort from Craig Wright which dropped short. However with increasing desperation the visitors managed to work an overlap and score in the left hand corner with the last move of the match. The visiting stand off had the unenvious task of trying to add the extras but could not, leaving a jubilant Oban team to celebrate a momentous home win.
Final score Oban 12-11 Cambuslang.
If they can maintain this same type of determined approach then there will be few visiting team s relishing a visit to Glencruitten. What was also very positive from an Oban perspective was how few handling errors were made throughout the match and how composed the team was in defence. Some better positional kicking will make it less nerve wracking for supporters and this is one area requiring a little work. This was a really superb rugby match with both teams contributing hugely to playing expansive rugby to keep the decent sized crowd entertained.
This week’s league match is away to Helensburgh in another very tough match in the team’s schedule which continues unabated until 17 December. Kick off 2pm.
Oban Lorne: L. Burns, M.Flynn, D. Williams,L. Maclachlan, N. Rimmer, S. Smith ( Capt), A. MacDougall. C. Louw, F. Mathieson, A. McCallum, C.Smith, M. Brooks, C.MacDonald, C.Ferris, C. Wright, R.Wright, D. Robertson,A.Lindsay, Lorne.