RAMPANT Greenock Wanderers ran in 12 tries against Isle of Arran to set up a Gala day showdown this weekend.

In front of an expectant Valentine"s Day crowd at Fort Matilda, Wanderers were in no mood to spread the love as they dismissed the islanders by 76-3.

And the Greenock side"s victory means they will do it all over again, when Premiership Two giants Gala come calling on Saturday for a fourth round tie.

With an early kick-off time of 12.30pm, Arran caught the hosts cold and could have taken an early lead, but their penalty attempt fell well short of the target.

Wanderers eventually arrived in the match, and after 10 minutes marked their intent with a swift move featuring some fine interplay between Connolly on the wing and centre Brendan McGroarty, before McGroarty fed in Calum Robb in support.

The big number eight made no mistake with a short dive over for the opening score, and Wanderers never looked back.

Five minutes later, Robb was put into touch in Arran territory, but Wanderers turned the ball over against their West Regional Division Two opponents, before spreading it wide to Connolly for the second try of the day.

Within another five minutes, as was becoming customary, Wanderers scored again. This time, after some good play at the base of the scrum, stand-off David Watson fed the ball out to McGroarty, who had a man waiting outside him but with swift foot cut inside for a try closer to the posts.

The scoreboard kept ticking - if there were a scoreboard - as the panicky Arran backs were culpable for another mistake.

This time a mis-pass in defence found its way to ground and was picked up by Watson, who hared away toward the line and was already tasting glory when an impromptu Arran heel-tap almost brought him to ground.

He maintained his balance, though, and was not to be stopped as he galloped over for his side"s fourth try.

Leigh Tyley added the second conversion of the day.

With every attack Wanderers gained ground, so it was no surprise when they again breached the Arran line. Captain Chris Clark was this time the beneficiary of the home side"s ball retention and set-up play, straightening his run just at the right time to go over under the posts.

A move involving Robb and scrum half Andy McDougall made some space for Watson, and as he was enveloped by three Arran defenders he somehow squeaked away clean, and ghosted his way over. Then, from a Watson kick to tough, Arran again made a hash of their clearance and the ball bounced into the welcoming hands of Marc Coyle to bundle over the line.

Jason Smith was then introduced, and his whippet-like speed carried him round his opposite number before he streaked towards the clubhouse in-goal to set up an easier conversion.

Arran"s support then had their moment in the sun, as the visitors elected to break their duck with a penalty. The kick hit the post, but at the second attempt the islanders finally got on the board.

At 52-3, the mini-resurgence was immediately put down as Leigh Tyley spun out of contact before setting up Smith"s second.

Again Wanderers came forward, and a concise move between Watson, Smith and McDougall saw the scrum-half home under the posts.

Football skills set up the next try, as first McGroarty then Tyley took their turn to boot the ball on, before the Arran defender joined in to carry the ball over his own line.

Tyley was on the end of the move from the resultant scrum-five, and notched Wanderers" penultimate score.

As the clock was ticking down and the Fort Matilda crowd were pondering their restaurant reservations, Watson showed he had other things on his mind with a late burst of energy. The lanky number 10 rounded off the scoring with a fine solo effort, though boss Dave McVey said: 'His decision making could have been better, and it will be harder against a good defence.' However, McVey was happy with the performance and the result, but maintained there was still a lot of work to do in preparation for the visit of Gala in less than a week"s time.

He said: 'As it was the first game back, I was happy with the way we came through it.

'However, we have work to do, especially on our restarts. The support is just not there. But there were a few good things we can take out of it, the highlights being our running and passing.

'It was a decent workout, but we"re not going to get carried away with the scoreline. We look forward to Saturday with a lot of hard work still to be done.' Wanderers: Tyley; Knox, Clark, McGroarty, Connolly; Watson, McDougall; Younger, McMichael, Coyle; Chamberlain, Paterson; Abernethy Robb, Love.

● On Saturday, Greenock Wanderers take on Gala at Fort Matilda in what will no doubt be Wanderers" biggest game of the season.

● A bumper crown is expected to pack out the new Octavia Terrace clubhouse, and a full preview of the match will appear only in the Greenock Telegraph, this Friday.

● Wanderers are sponsored by National Semiconductor [UK] Ltd.