1st XV - Report
The Green Machine slips up in Uddingston
A strong squad travelled to Lanarkshire to face rivals Uddingston RFC but were left disappointed after a 27-12 defeat
Upon arrival in Uddingston, it was plain to see that the wet weather had taken its toll on the playing surface, with the pitch very soft under foot. This set the game up to be a messy encounter. There was nothing messy however about Oban’s start. After kicking off towards the clubhouse, the Oban forwards quickly put their opponents under pressure, forcing a turnover and gaining ground with some smart kicking from stand-off, Craig Wright. Two minutes in, Oban set up a very powerful maul that led a massive drive towards the Uddingston line. From the resulting play, The Green Machine were unlucky not to take the lead, knocking on just a few metres out. The fans didn’t have to wait long for a score however. On the stroke of 5 minutes, a superb line break from Struan Smith, followed by a beautiful offload to twin brother, Cammy allowed Oban to score their first try in the corner. The former Heriot-Watt University players demonstrated why they are so valued to the Oban team with their dynamic running and excellent handling. The conversion was narrowly missed, leaving Oban Lorne five points ahead.
Unfortunately, Oban struggled to build on the lead that they had worked so hard for in the early stages. Some missed tackles allowed the pacey, young Uddingston team to work their way into the Oban half, pinning The Green Machine back. Nerves began to set into the Oban line, giving away three penalties in ten minutes to their opponents, all for offside. Luckily, the home team could only score one of the resulting kicks, reducing the lead to two points.
Soon after however, Uddingston went over the line for their first try of the game, carving out space on the left wing and running round the corner to score near the posts. A successful conversion later and Oban found themselves 5 points adrift of their opponents, frustrating the fans and management on the touchline.
Oban decided to change things up before the restart, bringing on Douglas Pender for Fergus Matheson at scrum-half in an attempt to change the tempo of the game. The change paid off a few minutes later, when Uddingston were penalised out wide for going offside from a breakdown. Craig Wright stepped up to take the kick, which narrowly sailed wide. The muddy, slippery ground causing problems for the high scoring fly-half.
Once again, Uddingston rallied and found themselves 5 metres out in the dying minutes, but some strong defence and some brutal tackling from Angus “Gus Bus” Munro halted the home team’s drive. The referee brought the first half to a close, with Uddingston leading ten points to Oban’s five.
At half time, Head Coach, Corrie Louw delivered an honest and very direct team talk to his players, reminding them that they had to stick to their game plan and dominate the much smaller pack of their opponents. It was clear that a much improved second-half performance was needed to deliver the result that everyone wanted.
As the second half began, Oban found themselves under heavy pressure from their opponents. Some poor handling costing The Green Machine momentum through knock-on penalties. Uddingston’s confidence was growing, and despite a powerful scrum from the front row, led by Robin MacQueen, they couldn’t prevent Uddingston from making ground.
The Green machine looked to utilise their usually dominant line-out to control the game, but found themselves unusually inconsistent in the air, turning over possession several times from their own line-outs. This added to the growing frustration of the Oban players, which culminated in yet another kickable penalty to Uddingston. Their fly-half duly slotted the kick home to extend the lead by another three points.
Six minutes later, and a moment of genius and also considerable good luck from the Uddingston backs produced arguably the best try of the day. A chip kick from midfield took a good bounce and was gathered up masterfully by the quick Uddingston centre who raced home in open field to score under the posts. Another successful conversion made it 20-5 to the home team.
As the pitch became more cut-up, the ground became as sticky as the caramel wafers made nearby at the Tunnock’s factory. This really limited the chances for getting the ball moving quickly from the breakdown. Nonetheless, Oban kept pushing valiantly and found themselves pushing hard towards the Uddingston line through some direct, punishing running from Andy MacDougall and Corrie Louw. The Green Machine found themselves with a 5 metre scrum, albeit without the put-in. This didn’t put the pack off at all, and they quickly walked over the ball to gain possession. The sheer power of the forwards was finally on show, and they drove the Uddingston defence back. “Mr Beast” Andy MacDougall smashed through over the line to touch down and bring Oban back into the game. Craig Wright kicked the conversion masterfully to bring Oban’s tally to twelve points with fourteen minutes left in the game.
The next few minutes saw Oban take control of the game, using their extremely powerful forwards to wreak havoc on the Uddingston line. But their progress was halted by an unlucky knock-on from Robin MacQueen, who nearly broke two big tackles into space.
Minutes later, Uddingston got a break from a loose ball and took full advantage to finish off the game, their grubber kick releasing their backs who swarmed towards the line for their final try of the game. Another successful conversion from their reliable fly-half made it 27-12 to Uddingston.
As the game entered the dying stages, Oban kept pushing but were left frustrated as the referee blew the final whistle. A poor defeat for The Green Machine, who never looked like they were at the races for the majority of the day. The loss leaves Oban in fourth place in the RBS West Division 2.
Despite the poor conditions, Head Coach, Corrie Louw made no excuses for the performance:
“We didn’t execute our game plan at all today. We scored early and sat back rather than keeping the momentum going. This week, we have to work hard at training to prepare for our next game. We can’t afford another loss like today.”
Oban Lorne have another tough away game next week, this time in Paisley. A win against the Renfrewshire team could put The Green machine back on track in the league, as they have a game in hand against the teams above them. Any player wishing to join The Green Machine to help them achieve their target of promotion in their 50th Anniversary season should come along to training at Glencruitten Park on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, 7.00pm.
You can keep up to date on all team news by following the club on twitter @obanlornerfc, or by visiting the club’s website: www.pitchero.com/clubs/obanlorne.