The sun was splitting the trees in East Ayrshire as Oban made the journey south to take on old rivals Cumnock. A stern test awaited the Green Machine with Cumnock being a top team in the league the previous season.
A moment of silence was had by both teams before kick off to remember Ethel Johnstone and Nick Bradbury, who both gave so much to Oban Lorne RFC over the years, and long may they be remembered.
As the game kicked off. Early Oban pressure had Cumnock at panic stations, with an early penalty being converted by Finlay Carmichael. Cumnock showed their class though, and quickly made their way back into Oban territory and puncing on a mistake, giving the first try of the game. This was a forewarning of what to come, with Cumnock ruthless on Oban mistakes and a high pressing line paired with a solid kick chase gave Oban trouble all afternoon.
Pressure kept mounting and Oban quickly found themselves 14-3 down, with Cumnocks heavy front row really doing some damage around the fringes and a solid pick and go reaping rewards for them. Suddenly though, Oban woke up. Good running by Jamie Bate, James Divers and Callum Hamilton opened up gaps, one of which was excellently taken by David Cameron who ran home Obans first try. Cumnock answered with a penalty on the stroke of the half to make it 17-10.
Oban started with a bang in the second period, fresh subs Ewan Shearer and Finn Charlton making inroads. With 5 minutes played, an interesting run from Vasil Borisov allowed him to pick an excellent pass into a gap, gratefully relieved by Lorne Machlachlan to crash over for Obans second. However, this was the only joy Oban would have for much of the second half. Loose passes and poor defense allowed Cumnock to intercept and break on multiple occasions, with two quick fire tries looking to have sunk the men from Oban just after the 60 minute mark. However, fire in the bellies of the men in green were lit, and a game was well and truly on. Some lovely interplay from Jethro Anderson and Corrie Louw manipulated a gap, which saw Craig Wright step a couple of players and power his way over the line. This was followed up not long after by a superb Oban score, with a new look back play putting speedster Robert McLaughlin in space who excellently finished from 30 yards. This left the game on a knife edge with 10 minutes to go, 31-29.
Unfortunately for Oban, the penalty count grew against them and solid kicking by the Cumnock 13 allowed them to add 6 extra points and take the game away in the dying moments. Ft score Cumnock 37 – Oban 29.
Oban come away with a try bonus but narrowing miss out on the losing bonus point.
Saturday 16th September sees action return to Glencruitten as Lenzie travel West to take on Oban in more West 1 league action.