Civil Service 12 – 10 Lurgan
by Philip Anderson
Captain Chris Gardiner rallies his troops and leads from the front
This squad has played some great rugby this season but has enjoyed little reward.
Today, with an ever increasing injury list, 2 cryoffs at breakfast time, and 1 no show, the guys battled through adversity in wet and cold conditions at Stormont.
Lurgan and Civil Service have enjoyed long associations and their respective 1st xvs annually contest the Wolfhound Cup.
Today was the first time the clubs have met at u17 level.
The home side enjoyed the early exchanges, dominating in the scrums and lineouts, but with nothing to show for their efforts when on 10 mins a missed tackle on the half way line saw the Lurgan left wing sprint half the length of the pitch. A score seemed inevitable but Scott Hartness managed to haul him to the ground. Service won the resulting scrum and cleared the ball into touch. A sloppy defence line out saw Lurgan break through and breach the Service line to lead 5-0 on 12 mins.
Service moved the ball through the hands and confidence began to increase. Sustained pressure by the pack saw Service equalise in the corner on 27 mins with a “packs” try. Daniel Moore converted from wide for Service to lead 7-5 at half-time.
The home side lost their momentum with the interval and were slow to restart. A optimistic chip by the Lurgan no.10 over the backs in slippy conditions saw the ball bounce clear of the Service full back for Lurgan to again take the lead, 10-5.
The game looked to be slipping away and heads drop, but some neat handling by the backs worked the ball out of the home half with 10 minutes to go. From a well won lineout, with a catch and drive, the ball passed swiftly through the hands of each of the backline for Andrew Lilburn to show a clean pair of heels and score wide. Conversion attempt just missed, 12-7, 9 mins to go.
Having twice come from behind the Service side with their noses in front now began to express themselves. Only resolute defence by the visitors prevented a further score.
A good days work by all involved and a well deserved win. Lurgan played well and no doubt felt unfortunate. The home side scored 2 good tries but made things hard for themselves by giving points away with silly mistakes. Too often this season the home side have seen games slip away, it’s great to get some reward for the character and belief in battling back from twice behind to seal the victory.
Plenty to work on in training next week before the next game.