BT West One



WANDERERS won the “John Galt derby” at Marress to increase the pressure on relegation-haunted Irvine.

This latest defeat, combined with Oban’s 64-15 victory at home to bottom club Helensburgh, means that Oban are now only five points behind Irvine in second bottom place, and Oban’s visit to Marress on Saturday week now looks more pivotal than ever.

This Saturday both sides are at home, Irvine entertaining promotion-chasing Allan Glen’s, while Oban entertain leaders Carrick. It is therefore likely to be “as you were” when the two sides meet at Marress.

Mid-table Greenock settled first, and their early possession and territory were rewarded six minutes in when Jack Dale crossed on the left for a try which went unconverted.

Irvine largely lived off scraps in the first quarter, but steadily grew into the game and deservedly squared it up when Jamie Doolan forced his way over to crown a patient spell of pressure on the Greenock line.

Again the try went unconverted in the breezy conditions.

Greenock stepped it up after Doolan’s try, and it was largely thanks to a combination of determined Irvine defence and poor execution in attack that the sides turned around deadlocked at 5-5.

The visitors continued to dominate after the interval, and there was a sense of inevitability about Kevin Smith’s first try when it arrived just after the hour, the centre diving over after the hosts had given the ball away in defence. Kevin Murray converted from in front for a 12-5 lead.

Things went from bad to worse for Irvine shortly afterwards, when their deteriorating discipline finally tried the patience of referee Calum Lazenby too far, and sub Neil Turner was sent to the sin-bin.

Irvine held out for the duration of the power play, but just after Turner’s return to the action with four minutes to go, Smith pounced for his second to make the game safe.

IRVINE: Sam Buswell; Jordan Kerr, Elliott Skeoch, Ryan Elliston (capt), Craig Williams; Per Jacobson, John Carson; Ewan Callaghan, Craig Maxwell, Logan Ferguson, Sandy Thomson, Jamie Doolan, Blair McLaws, Paul Paterson, Alan Nugent. Subs: Baris Nesvat, David Kerr, Neil Turner.