Nutty Krust Final Rainey U18’s v Dromore U18’s Wednesday 27th April 2016
The final of the 2016 Nutty Krust Tournament took place at Chambers Park on Wednesday evening when Dromore U18’s played Rainey U18’s in a re-run of the 2015 final. The Dromore team, having built a 24-7 lead by the interval, went on to win the game by 24-21. The game, the twelfth in the series of matches, was played in front an enthusiastic band of supporters from both clubs all of whom thoroughly enjoyed the occasion.
Ulster Rugby has given great support to the Nutty Krust tournament over the years and this year was no exception. Jonny Gillespie, Talent ID Manager for Ulster Rugby and Michael Black, Age Grade Manager for Ulster Rugby, have been regular in their attendance at the games since January. On the occasion of the final on Wednesday night Bobby Stewart, Ulster Branch President, was joined by John McKibbin, Honorary Secretary and Senior Vice President, Graffin Parke, Junior Vice President, Stephen Black, Chairman of the Ulster Schools’ Committee, Ulster Director of Rugby, Les Kiss, and Ulster and Ireland Captain, Rory Best.
The Dromore team started the game strongly and took an early 7-0 lead when Matty Mc Master made an immediate impact at the kick off which ended with Dromore getting a 5m lineout in the Rainey “Red Zone”. Secure lineout possession paved the way for scrum half, Joshua Brame, to step out of a number of tackles and touch down for a try which Marcus Heath converted. The Dromore team controlled the early territory and possession and was rewarded, when, following good work from Matty McMaster, Gary Dillon and Andrew Rutledge the opportunity arose for Marcus Heath to convert a penalty and increase the Dromore lead to 10-0. A few minutes later a telling break from Joshua Brame, inside his 22m area, was finished off by Matty Jennings who outpaced the Rainey defence to touch down for a try. Marcus Heath added the extras to increase the Dromore lead to 17-0. On the half hour mark a well-organised driven maul from secure lineout possession was finished off by the Dromore loose head prop, Simon Henshaw. Marcus Heath converted the try to put his team into a 24-0 lead. The Rainey team now had to do something and their players responded positively. Just before the break Neal Hastings, Padraig Totten, Nadgeen Chada, Darren Corrigan and Lorcan Quinn were all involved in a series of plays which ended with Neal Hastings touching down for a try. Lorcan Quinn hit a successful conversion which reduced the arrears to 24-7 at the interval.
The introduction of the Ireland U18 second row forward, John McCusker, to the Rainey team in the second half had a positive impact on the team’s performance. They displayed a great deal of bouncebackability and really took the game to the Dromore team. Marc Friel and Jac Lloyd Evans were thriving on the fast ball the Rainey pack was now producing. They forced the Dromore team into conceding a number of penalties which took play deep into the Dromore 22m area. From a lineout the ball was moved quickly to the midfield area and, following a series of mauls, quick ball to Calum Smyth ended with Calum scoring a try. Lorcan Quinn was successful with the conversion which saw the scoreboard now read Dromore 24 Rainey 14. The Rainey team was now in all-out attack mode and it took some excellent Dromore defence to prevent the Gareth Hall and Michael O’Neill scoring from seemed like certain tries. Midway through the half the Rainey team did score their third try of the game. Darren Corrigan and Nadgeen Chada were involved before Calum Smyth touched down for his second try of the night. Lorcan Quinn converted the try to reduce the Rainey arrears to 24-21. The Rainey team threw everything at the Dromore team in the search for victory but the Dromore defence was well-marshalled by the midfield trio of Aaron Atkinson, Matty Jennings and Ben Davis. Their back row of Kallem Travers, Gary Dillon and Elliott Forbes got through a lot of work at the breakdown and the Rainey team was unable to add to the scoreboard. The final whistle blew and it was the Dromore team that celebrated their retention of the Nutty Krust U18 Trophy.
As usual with the Nutty Krust Tournament the players all received a post-match meal which was sponsored by Jim Hewitt Meats, prepared by the staff in “Scrummies” kitchen and organised by the ever present Sid Rowe. All players, as well as their coaches, received a Nutty Krust loaf on departure.
Ulster and Ireland Captain, Rory Best, made presentations to the referee and touch judges as well as to the Rainey team at the post-match reception. Rory also presented Sid Rowe with a tie and pin badges in recognition of all the work Sid does in connection with the Nutty Krust tournament. Rory then presented Joshua Brame with his well-deserved “Man of the Match” Award.
Ulster Director of Rugby, Les Kiss, then presented the Dromore U18 team with their medals and the evening concluded when the Ulster Branch President, Bobby Stewart, and Brian Irwin, representing the Nutty Krust sponsors, presented the Nutty Krust Trophy to the victorious Dromore RFC U18 team.