CITY OF DERRY RUGBY I XV 27 v WANDERERS RUGBY I XV 20: Bonus Point Win: Report & Pictures

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City of Derry Rugby Club recorded a bonus point victory over Wanderers F.C. in All Ireland League Division 3 at Judges Road on Saturday last when they ran out winners by five try’s to three. The result puts Derry into second place in the league just three points behind leaders Instonians from Belfast who eked out a seven point victory away to title contenders Seapoint who now drop into third place two points behind Derry.
CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES Courtesy of Bernard Doherty: e:
Derry strolled through the first half and had the four try bonus point wrapped up with just over thirty minutes gone and the score was 20pts to 3pts to the home side. At that point of the game the margin of victory seemed to be the only other thing left to be decided. When full back Peter Henderson scored the try of the season so far twelve minutes into the second half and the score stood at 27pts to 3pts for the home side, if it was a boxing match the Wanderers Coach would have thrown in the towel.
The game took a turn for the worse for Derry just entering the fourth quarter when they had two players sin binned for indiscipline, Hara Kiri looked a possibility. Playing thirteen men to fifteen men in the modern game is like asking the opposition if they would like to beat you. The momentum of the game shifted to Wanderers and twenty minutes later and three try’s scored and with just seven points between the teams, the result was now in doubt as the game entered injury time. The last fandango was being played, Derry were hanging on as Wanderers pressed for more.
City of Derry lost whatever shape they had as Wanderers attacked near the end of the game. Like last week the game management and direction which were sadly lacking all through became more pronounced as Wanderers were invited to attack courtesy of aimless kicking. Derry were capable of outmuscling and bullying the Dublin pack throughout but they never put them to the sword when they had the chance. Derry had a penalty half way through the first half when Wanderers had a man in the sin bin, they neither kicked an easy shot nor scrummed eight against seven men. They choose to take a quick penalty and squander a golden opportunity to add points.
The conditions on Saturday were perfect for rugby and Derry got the ideal start, they attacked early and took play to the Wanderers 22 meter line. Scrum half Andrew Semple broke blind from a strong maul and found Josh Lewis who showed his pace and scored an unconverted try in the corner on his first start for Derry this season. Derry increased their tally with another try on thirteen minutes; turn over ball allowed Richard McCarter to make the initial break and when he found David Funston with a long pass alarm bells were ringing in the Wanderers defence. Funston passed to Lewis who set up a ruck and quick ball allowed Richard Peoples to score another unconverted try in the corner to give Derry a 10pts to nil lead.
Wanderers took play into the Derry half on fifteen minutes and indiscipline at the breakdown by Derry allowed winger Andrew Wallace to kick a penalty from forty meters to reduce the deficit to 10pts to 3pts. Derry were now playing with confidence and Man of the Match David Funston was at the heart of everything positive coming from Derry. Derry got their third try on twenty eight minutes following the move of the match which saw great handling and interplay between back and forwards. Winger William McCleey started the move with a searing run into the Wanderers half where he found Peoples who in turn off loaded to Funston who linked with Captain Sam McAuley who in turn passed to supporting player Stephen Corr to touch down for an unconverted try in the corner for a 15pts to 3 pts lead.
It was all Derry now and on thirty three minutes the fourth try bonus point was confirmed. Derry won turnover ball in midfield and Peter Henderson who was having a fine game and looked comfortable under high ball all day made the initial break. Henderson passed to McCarter who in turn found Peoples who released Josh Lewis to score his second try in the corner which was not converted; Derry took their 20pts to 3pts advantage to the half time break.

The try of the game came twelve minutes into the second half when the outstanding Peter Henderson latched onto a pre planned move in midfield that saw Rickard McCarter pick him out with the perfect pass to run fifty meters and outstrip three defenders to score a try between the posts which McCarter converted for a 27pts to 3pts Derry lead. Derry had two of their front row forwards sin binned within minutes of one another around the twenty minute mark. The game changed and from being a stroll to victory on a beautiful afternoon to a case of all hands to the pumps and several valuable lessons learned for the remainder of the season if Derry are to continue challenging for top honours in AIL 3.
Wanderers threw everything at Derry with their two man advantage, superb commitment to the tackle by Derry held them at bay for a period but misplaced kicking instead of slowing the game down via ruck and maul allowed Wanderers to score a try through their wing forward Eoin Nihill and with Andrew Wallace converting it was 27pts to 10pts for Derry. Derry got their full complement of players back on the pitch but the tide had turned by then and it was all Wanderers, their full back Luke Halpin got on the end of a terrific forward drive to score an unconverted try on thirty four minutes to reduce the deficit to 27pts to 15pts for Derry.
Derry struggled to get any foothold on the game but as the game wore on the more the disarray manifested itself, that was epitomised on forty minutes when Wanderers prop Kieran Moloney was gifted a pass from a Derry player to gallop in from over thirty meters out to score an unconverted try in the corner to make the score 27pts to 20pts for Derry. The game entered injury time and with Derry increasing the intensity of tackling they held out for their bonus point victory.
City of Derry Team: : David Witherow, Sam McAuley, Sam Duffy, Bob McKillop, David Houston, Stephen Corr, Tom Pattton, Stephen Ferguson, Andrew Semple, Richard McCarter, William McCleery. Richard Peoples, David Funston, Josh Lewis, Peter Henderson. Replacements: Chris Shields, Cathal Creggan, Chris Cooper, Richard Baird, Simon Logue.

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