Civil Service RFC 0 – 77 Antrim RFC
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Antrim resumed league duties, after the festive break, with a trip to Stormont Pavilion to face Civil Service, and claim back their top spot from Ballynahinch. Antrim put on a superb 11 try demolition with four tries from David Thompson, a brace for Ben Phelps and singles from Jack Dempster, John Bull, Robert Nimmo, Andrew Calvert and Toby Rowe. The result propelled Antrim back to the top of the league over Ballynahinch.
After some close exchanges in the opening minutes, it took Antrim almost 10 minutes to break down the resilient Civil Service. After some good work in the scrum and some good hands in the build up from Webb, McKee and Rowe, Andrew Calvert was allowed to crash over from centre. Rowe converted and Antrim lead 7-0.
After a few long delays through injuries to some Service players, Antrim added their second score. Some superb counter rucking in the midfield, allowed Neil Manson to break and set Toby Rowe free to break through a series of tackles and hit the line to ground the try and convert as Antrim now lead 14-0.
Antrim countered at every opportunity and were unfortunate not to add another as a Jack Dempster break set Calvert and Thompson off, with some great interplay between the two. After a good tackle, and indiscipline at the ruck, Antrim conceded a penalty and Service were let off the hook.
In the 35th minute, Antrim added the third through a real opportunist effort. A Service lineout, deep in their half was slapped back over their tryline and flanker, Robert Nimmo, raced through to ground the ball, showing some excellent awareness. With Rowe converting Antrim lead 21-0.
Antrim’s dominance continued, and an excellent training ground backs move, confused the Service defence and Rowe set Jack Dempster through for a 60 metre run and around the fullback to score as Rowe converted for a 28-0 lead.
With the seconds ticking until halftime, Antrim added their fifth through another great back line move. Some excellent hands from Andrew Calvert and David McKee in centre released David Thompson to sidestep and beat his man, going down the touchline to score. Rowe converted again and Antrim went into the break with a 35-0 lead.
With little to address at half time, Smyth urged his boys to keep up the good work in moving the ball as freely as they had been.
Antrim came racing out the blocks in the second half and instantly added their sixth of the afternoon as David McKee went on a trademark run, beating several players and setting David Thompson through to score his second for Rowe to convert as Antrim now lead 42-0.
Thompson clinched his second hat trick in two games, minutes later as a great cross field run from Toby Rowe, set Thompson through to sidestep around the Service defenders on the touchline and burst through and score for Rowe to convert as Antrim roared into a convincing 49-0 lead.
At 50 minutes, the Antrim men added their eighth try and Thompson’s fourth. A quick tap and go penalty went through the hands as Andrew Calvert drew his man, he released Thompson for a free run over the line for Rowe to convert, resulting in a 56-0 lead.
With 55 minutes gone, the ninth try went on the board following a tremendous break from half way from Ben Phelps from the ruck. John Bull opted to take Rowe’s conversion duties this time and converted as Antrim put the game well out of reach with a 63-0 lead.
Antrim began to lull a little but soon added a tenth through Ben Phelps. As Antrim stole, the Service lineout, Phelps sneaked around the side to score his second beside the posts as Rowe converted again as Antrim romped into a 70-0 scoreline.
Antrim received the kick off and added their eleventh and final try of the afternoon. The ball was returned through the hands to McKee who set John Bull through to score as Rowe converted.
The referee blew up early with the score at 77-0.
Coach Smyth was pleased how the boy’s resumed duties after the Christmas break. With numbers ever increasing in training, it was apparent that the boys were now applying everything they had learned on the training pitch, into matchplay. He summed up the victory as a, “Super game, great professional performance with no quarter given.”
Smyth presented the MB Hire Man of the Match award to Toby Rowe for having a hand in all but one try and for his superb performance from the kicking tee.