City Of Armagh RFC Notes: Mens I XV 22 v Queens University RFC Mens I XV 33

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Saturday saw Armagh entertain Queens University at The Palace Grounds in their second game in the 2012-13 Ulster Senior League. Having secured last week’s 8-3 victory at Belfast Harlequins Armagh were prepared for a stiff game against Queens.
The playing conditions were perfect at the kick off which saw Armagh face a fresh breeze but with the score–board showing indicating 20 degrees the afternoon favoured open rugby.
Image 4024: James Morton scored Armagh’s first try.
Image 4004: James McCall was carries again.
Image 3958: Andrew Willis looks for support.
Sure enough, Armagh launched attack after attack and were seen to pin Queens in their own half for the first twenty minutes of the game. Although Armagh were seen to be playing all the rugby they had failed to secure any points despite gaining all the territorial advantage. Minute 21, however, saw the tables turn when some lacklustre tackling coupled with the tremendous turn of speed of the Queens full-back, Chris Colvin, touched down a try under the Armagh posts. This was converted and suddenly the visitors looked dangerous.
Queens were penalised for a rucking offence, which Johnny Steenson kicked to open the Armagh account. Two minutes later & exactly the same defensive errors let Colvin in for a similar try. Yet again the Queens out-half, McMaster converted to make the score 0-14 somewhat of an embarrassment after only two visits into the Armagh half! Just before the break McMaster’s boot put the half time score to 3-17 when Armagh were caught off-side.
The second half started with another penalty being awarded to Queens when an Armagh forward was deemed to enter a ruck improperly. Again, McMaster’s kicking was on target. Just five minutes later, James Morton managed to open a phase of articulate pay when he forced his way over the Queens line in the right corner. Unfortunately, the conversion went wide to leave the score at 8-20.
Young Tom Johnston then forced his way through the Queens defence to score his first try on The Palace Grounds. This time Steenson was accurate to bring the score to a more respectable 15-20. Again, the referee deemed Armagh’s forwards to be rucking improperly and the resultant penalty opened the score to 15-23. Never to be outdone, James Morton obliged with another fine try and again the conversion was on target to narrow the score to 22-23.
With just ten minutes to play, the home side appeared to falter and a Queens centre was able to evade more slack defending to touch down a try just right of the home posts. Again, the conversion was on target as was the last penalty of the match to bring the final score to 22-33.
The result of this match would have been unheard of two seasons ago if Armagh had had the opportunity to play a senior team such as Queens but the body language indicated the Armagh side were visibly unhappy with their afternoon’s efforts. When all is said and done both sides scored three tries but Armagh’s were all the result of sustained team efforts while slack defending appeared to gift the three tries to the visitors. However, it has to be said that the dry, warm weather suited the Queen’s backs and they were more than capable of utilising the conditions to their advantage. Perhaps the high penalty count of Armagh infringements & the four Queens successful kicks to the single kick to Armagh was the relevant factor in the final score!

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