Tennent's West One



"A CAULD wind was rising o’er Moor and o’er Marress" as Irvine and Garnock renewed their longstanding rivalry.

The match was pretty evenly fought, but ultimately it was Irvine’s indiscipline that was the difference between the teams – including three penalties for mouthing at the referee.

Irvine started the stronger and controlled much of the first quarter, ending it with a try when Ruchin Filander drove strongly off the back of a ruck to send Sione Halafisi away to score under the posts. Sam Gray popped over the conversion to give Irvine a 7 – 0 lead in the 19th minute.

Unfortunately this was given away when, soon after, prop Ewan Callaghan was given a yellow card for a no-arms tackle.

Irvine shipped 10 points over the next seven minutes. First, from an offside penalty in front of their posts, Keir Walker slotted Garnock’s first points, and then, taking advantage of their numerical superiority, the visitors drove towards the Irvine line for prop Luke Wynn to punch the ball over for a score to give his side the lead. Walker converted to send Garnock into the interval leading 10-7.

The second half took some time to get going, and Walker extended the lead in 54 minutes after Irvine gave away a penalty for playing a man on the floor.

The home team came back, but the tourists’ defence held steady until, in the 68th minute, they turned over Irvine ball deep in their own half. They swung it towards their centre where Jared Reekie saw the whole of North Ayrshire opening up in front of him. He turned on his well-known afterburners and took the ball over 60 metres to score under Irvine’s posts. Walker again converted to take the lead to 20 – 7.

Irvine refused to lie down however and three minutes later had cut the visitors’ lead.

Scrum half Robbie McVey popped the ball over the top into the in-goal area, where the legendary bounce of the rugby ball out-foxed the Garnock defenders and dropped into the hands of the supporting Jamie Doolan, who scored an opportunist try. Sadly, Sam Gray could not convert from the touchline against the strengthening wind.

Despite great efforts by the home team, they could not score again, and Garnock continued their winning run against Irvine.

Meanwhile, sadly the 2nd XV’s game against Whitecraigs was postponed due to a dearth of referees.

The week, Irvine take the long journey down the Doon Valley to Castle Douglas to take on Stewartry, who they knocked out of the Shield in August, while the 2nd XV travel to Lenzie – both referee permitting.