Sat 14th Dec, 2:30pm. OPHIR R.F.C. 48 – 0 Civil Service
OPHIR FIRSTS MARCH ON
by Ron Bell
Last Saturday at the Cottonmount, Mallusk, Ophir First XV hosted Civil Service in the Kukri Qualifying league Section 4.
Weather conditions were far from ideal for a rugby match, with a howling gale blowing cross pitch and intermittent heavy rain. But thanks to last year’s major drainage scheme, the playing surface was as good as it could be.
So far undefeated in all competitions this season, Ophir, supported by Biffa and MCW Properties, were facing a tough proposition – the match at Civil Service earlier in the season had been fiercely competitive and the home team were anticipating the same again. But against all expectations, it took only 6 minutes for Ophir to break through the Civil Service defence; scrum half Karl Davis touching down close to the corner flag. Full back David Walker converted brilliantly against the wind. Four minutes later Davis repeated the exercise after some good recycling by the Ophir pack, but this time the conversion attempt missed “by a mile”. Nevertheless, Ophir continued to dominate the opposition and with 20 minutes gone, Ophir out half James Milligan jinked through a couple of tackles to cross the line. And on the half hour, once again Karl Davis proved impossible to stop as he added his third score to the Ophir tally. At the break, Ophir led 22 – 0.
The second half was a mirror reflection of the first with Ophir applying all the pressure to the hard pressed Civil Service defence. Within five minutes number 8 Neil Gray took the ball from the base of a driving maul to crash over the line and second row Kenny Morton did exactly the same 10 minutes later. David Walker converted to put Ophir 34 points ahead. Up to this point, Civil Service had barely set foot in the Ophir half of the pitch, but suddenly that changed. From a poor looped Ophir pass close to the Service line, their scrum half intercepted and sprinted the length of the field. Over the 22m line he chipped ahead which gave the frantic Ophir defence a chance to clear the danger. They did, in a real sickener for Civil Service as Ophir second row Paddy McCabe broke clear almost on his own line and ran the length of the pitch to score under the posts. David Walker converted and in a final flourish Karl Davis crashed through three despairing tackles to score his fourth of the day. With James Milligan’s conversion the game ended 48 – 0 to Ophir.