Civil Service RFC I XV v Holywood Ixv & Civil Service II xv v PSNI II xv

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Civil Service (NI) RFC 1st XV unlucky to lose to Holywood in close match

Civil Service entertained Holywood in the second match of the Gordon West Cup. Having lost our narrowly in the first match to PSNI, and win was vital to keep alive chances of qualifying into the knock out stages.

Service’s preparations weren’t helped with the loss of Johnny Bradshawe just hours before kick off, but there were club debuts for Phil Patterson at no 8 and Matt Thompson on the right wing.

Service opened the scoring after great work from the pack as they drove a maul over in the left hand corner of the pitch, with Andrew ‘Boney’ Sloan appearing from the bottom of the pile of bodies, as the try scorer. This was brilliantly converted by Pete Hoskins from the touchline.

Over 14 Picture Slideshow Of Civil Service v Holywood – CLICK HERE – Pictures By Civil Service

Service continued to dominate when we were able to secure possession, but this proved difficult with the Holywood set plays being more effective.

Holywood were allowed to get back into the match after Dan Cartland had a 22 drop out charged down and then the ball was fed out to a 45 year old prop, who rather embarrassingly sprinted into the corner, despite Stevie Moore’s despairing attempts to stop him.

Holywood further increased their lead when from a five metre scrum their no 8 picked up and bounced through the ailing service defence.

Unfortunately, we had to complete the match with 14 men, just as we had to last week, after Stevie Moore dislocated his elbow in a seemingly innocuous incident when claiming the kickoff from this try.

Service rallied in the second half with the best try of the match, with Neil Palmer crossing in the corner after incisive running and slick handling in the Civil Service backline.

Holywood continued to compete with their own scores and the lead changed hands a number of times through the second half. With ten minutes to go , Holywood were leading by one point with a one man advantage. Dan was able to read the Holywood out half’s thoughts and intercepted a pass in the Service 22. At this point it was a straight foot race between the second oldest man in the team and the sprightly young Holywood wingers. No contest – try time and Service’s lead was restored to 6 points following the successful conversion.

The last ten minutes was simply a case of hanging on as long as we could, but unfortunately the extra man eventually told and Holywood scored two quick tries to kill off the match.

Two matches played and two defeats, but across the two games Service have played 80 minutes down to 14 men and have competed in both matches. This surely calls into question the wisdom of not being allowed to field even one substitute in this league, as yet again the guys who took to the field did not deserve to lose.

Final Score Civil Service 25-33 Holywood

The changes in personnel and tactics did nothing to dim the Service enthusiasm however, and a great try followed- David Gonzalez breaking form distance, showing good pace and movement to round a number of opposing players to score an outstanding try.

Unfortunately Danny Ansell having inherited kicking duties from the injured Will was unlucky to hit the post from the resulting kick, leaving the score at 19 -12.

However worse was to follow when from a penalty kick to draw Service to within 5 points he managed to hit the post again and the PSNI scored a breakaway try, leaving the Service players disheartened having worked so hard to get back into the match.
Two late tries followed against a dispirited Service defence that had battled hard for the majority of the game, 37-12 a harsh result but given the changes and injuries in the game there were many positives to be taken from the match

Civil Service would like to say a special thank you to the PSNI physio for treating William when he hurt his knee. Also thanks to Bryn for the match report.

Civil Service (NI) RFC 2nd XV in hard fought match against PSNI 2nd XV
Civil Service 2nd XV 12v37 PSNI 2s

PSNI travelled to Stormont to face Civil Service 2nd XV in a Minor League East 1 clash on a warm and sunny afternoon. PSNI won an exciting match 37v12 with their experience proving to be the difference between the two sides.

The first half began badly for Service as PSNI took advantage of poor concentration to score 2 early tries to take the lead. However going behind so early woke Service into action and they began to press forward and were eventually rewarded when the Service pack pushed over for Captain Greg Brown to score and William to convert.
Over 14 Picture Slideshow Of Civil Service II v PSNI II – CLICK HERE – Pictures By Civil Service
Service had another great opportunity to score when they won a penalty underneath the PSNI posts; however the quickly taken tap penalty was knocked on. Some fantastic defensive work kept PSNI at bay, including try saving tackles from David Gonzalez and Brett Jones kept the score at 22v7 at half time.

Worryingly though Service had already used 2 subs with Gareth Edwards replacing the injured Gavin Connelly and then Bryn Sturgeon coming on first as a blood sub for Gareth (who sustained a suspected broken nose) and then as a replacement for dependable fly half William Agnew who had injured his knee.

After some motivational words from head coach Marty McGuigan, Service used their final substitute in the backs when Brett Jones came off to be replaced by Paddy Thompson.

One of the main changes was in the lineout- Greg had taken some early good balls but had then been put under more pressure and so the call changed to let Stevie Wilson take them in further back, which he did well, especially as he had previously injured his hand. When he then was, in turn, being put under more pressure there was the sense so mix up the lineout again by shortening it- it will be decisions like these that will help Service win games in the future.

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