Accies through to Towns Cup Quarter Finals: Report + Pictures

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Omagh RFC NOTES: I XV 29 Ballyclare RFC I XV 7
Omagh entered the ht for the quarter finals of the Towns Cup after a fine performance on Saturday saw them emerge victorious over Ballyclare by 29 points to 7 in a one sided match at Conneywarren.
Smarting from a recent narrow loss at The Cloughan, Omagh were intent on continuing their fine form and put in their best performance of the season to dominate in every facet of the game.
“We are pleased with our performance today. We are working hard and are making progress each week but won’t get complacent. I can’t single anyone out today because it was such a strong team performance”, said Captain, Mervyn Edgar after the game.
The Accies played uphill in the first half on a wet, heavy pitch and started strongly,winning primary possession and establishing their patterns of play. The first 15 minutes saw play concentrated on the Ballyclare half before the deadlock was broken courtesy of a try by Neil Browne. The rangy centre showed good strength to keep going after
being initially tackled, kept going and reached out for the score. David Ward added the conversion.
Omagh kept on the offensive and in confident mood were attacking at will. They tried to force a pass though and following the resulting breakdown, saw the scores level when Ballyclare kicked through deep into the Omagh 22, though Stuart McCain covered well and cleared his lines. From the resulting lineout, the visitors took clean ball and opened up the defence to score under the posts for a converted try.
The Accies kept up their high work rate, forced turnovers, began to take control up front and good defence all over the pitch snuffed out any threat from the visitors. David Ward missed a long range kick at goal before slotting a penalty over from 20 metres to take the
lead for Omagh before half time.
The Co. Tyrone men have been guilty of slacking off in the opening minutes of the second half after putting in a strong 40 minutes but coach, phil marshall, did not let this happen on Saturday.
With his dulcet tones in their ears, his side took the game by the scruff of the neck in the opening 15 minutes scoring two tries to end the game ad a contest. Two similar moves from lineout ball taken off the top yielded two tries, the first from 40 metres out when Alistair Beckett supported a break by No. Richard Smyth and touched down, the other when Smyth showed great strength and determination to break a few tackles and score a well deserved try himself. Ward added one conversion.
Omagh took over total control up front with the scrum pushing the visiting pack off the ball on several occasions, controlling the lineout and winning the breakdowns. Colin Lee on the flank neutralised the Ballyclare powerful ball carriers in their back row, while the
whole pack hunted together and turned the ball over on several occasions. This turnover ball allowed Jamie Lagan and Beckett at half back and Ward at fullback to punt the ball deep, in behind the defence and play a territorial game. In control and playing maturely to close the game out, the home side withdrew Steffan Hamilton and Neil Browne allowing substitutes, Johnny Sproule and Lee Warnock a run out in the second row and centre respectively.
The Accies scored a fourth try after 70 minutes when Stuart McCain burst through from a set move from the scrum to touch don under the posts. Ward added the conversion.
The scored finished 29-7 to Omagh in a fine team performance by the Co. Tyrone men who improve each week and avenged their earlier league loss to Ballyclare. This game will put the Accies in a positive frame of mind for the remainder of the season which will see them host both Ballyclare and league leaders, UUC, who suffered their first league
loss of the season Saturday.
Next up for Omagh is a Conference match against Queens’ University, a match which will allow Marshall to try a few new combinations and give squad players a run, though he may decide to continue with the fifteen that is building momentum and has performed well of late.
Team: David Ward, Andy McFarland, Neil Browne, Stuart McCain, Stephen Maclaine, Alistair Beckett, Jamie Lagan, Stephen Rutledge, Stephen Giboney, Mark Smyth, Steffan Hamilton, Johnny Giboney, Mervyn Edgar ©, Colin Lee, Richard Smyth

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