Donaghadee RFC Notes: I XV Falter In North West + II XV 14 v Instonians RFC 12: Reports & Pictures NOW LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Following a convincing defeat of newcomers UUC in this season’s first league encounter Donaghadee began their away campaign on Saturday with a trip to Ballymoney.
Although the Dee had the upper hand in lasts years meetings with two wins and a draw, the North West team finished their league campaign strongly and indeed beat the Junior Cup Winners to 3rd place in the final league standings
The Donaghadee team had a number of changes from the their win against UUC including the return of club stalwart David Thompson and a league debut for Adam Alexander on the left wing
After a disjointed start to the game from both sides Ballymoney put the first points of the day on the board with a well taken penalty after a couple of Donaghadee players had frayed into an offside position.
Donaghadee responded and enjoyed good possession for the following ten minutes, however effective first time tackling from Ballymoney didn’t allow for any clear scoring opportunities.
On the 15th minute Ballymoney made their first venture into the Donaghadee 22 and scored after a neat blindside move transferring the ball neatly amongst a couple of backs with the right winger touching down in the corner. The conversion was successful to give the home side a 10-0 lead.
Ballymoney continued to dominate play and only good defence in the Donaghadee 22 prevented further scores during this period of play. League debutant Adam Alexander in particular offering an accomplished defensive performance.
Donaghadee’s young front row were competing well against their more experienced counterparts – however on the 25th minute Ballymoney won their first scrum against the head and were able to transfer the ball to the left flank at speed to allow the left winger to dive into the corner for the home sides second try of the day. The conversion was unsuccessful.
Tough tackling from Donaghadee kept the home side from extending their league during another dominant spell with player coach Paul McKenzie leading the tackle count in the middle of the pitch.
Donaghadee had their first attempt at goal via a penalty kick that rebounded off the upright on the 32nd minute – however in the resulting phase of play Nigel Barker got a second opportunity when he made no mistake reducing the deficit to 15-3.
In the five minute period of play before half-time the outcome of this league game was ultimately decided as the home side scored two additional tries and established a 27-3 lead.
The first try was a result of a powerful forward surge that attracted too many Dee bodies to defend the line when Ballymoney fed the ball to their left winger to get his second try of the day.
The second try was a sucker punch given it came from a Donaghadee attack that had over 15 phases of play deep in Ballymoney’s half. However with the HT whistle imminent Dee forced an ambitious pass that did not go to hand and was picked up by the speedy Ballymoney centre who ran the length of the pitch to rapturous applause from the strong home following.
Halt Time Ballymoney 27 – Donaghadee 3
The second half was a typical battle of a team who had all but secured a bonus point win against a proud travelling team eager to get back into the game with early points and at minimum reduce the deficit.
Donaghadee enjoyed much better possession in the second half but could not get the break that their efforts arguably deserved until the 60th minute mark when Nigel Barker crossed the line after great work from Chris Hamilton to secure loose ball allowing McKenzie and Paul Blewitt to create space for Barker to score. The conversion was unsuccessful.
Dee nearly scored their second try soon after courtesy of a trademark break from Barker who was able to feed the ball to one of Donaghadee’s strongest performers of the day Kalave Aualiitia. With Ballymoney quick to get defensive players back in place the powerful second row fed a try scoring pass to supporting Dee players – however not for the first time Dee appeared not to be getting the rub of the green and the pass was adjudged to be forward.
Donaghadee did get the second try their efforts deserved five minutes from time. Thompson making good distance after taking a tap penalty was supported from Hamilton who brought the Dee deep into the Dee 22. Alistair Lockhart then spun out of a couple of tacklers to power his way over the line. The kick was successful.
The home side had the final say of the afternoon however and scored in one of the last plays of the game to finish 32 – 15 victors.
All in all this was a frustrating afternoon for the Donaghadee 1st XV who struggled to get the momentum in their play that their efforts deserved. They were matched against a dogged experienced Ballymoney side who will I am sure believe that they were ‘due’ that victory against the Dee men. There were however enough good periods of play from Donaghadee to give Coaches McKenzie and Hennessy encouragement that there will plenty of positives in the season ahead.
Scoops Man of the Match
Thompson and Hamilton have picked up where they left off last season will strong ball carrying performances. This week’s award goes to Adam Alexander for a very sound league performance with s committed performance on the left wing.
FOR pictures fo this game CLICK HERE thanks to Kerry
Donaghadee 2nd XV opened their League campaign at Donaldson Park on Saturday with Instonians as the visitors. A sizeable crowd had gathered to enjoy the fine weather and they were treated to a great game of physical, skilful rugby with a number of new faces making their debuts for the Dee and a warm welcome back to a number of seasoned campaigners! The teams cancelled each other out in the early exchanges with neither pack getting on top. Gradually the home side started to get the upper hand in the game with a number of turnovers at ruck and scrum time. However against the run of play a loose line out inside the home team’s 22 metre line opened up a four on two overlap with the Instonians pacey left winger going over in the corner for an unconverted try. The home side regrouped and started to make their way back into the game with number eight Paul Hamilton making a number of barn storming breaks and with experienced out-half David Moore leading the defensive line keeping the away team penned in their own half, the home pack over powered their opponents with Richard Black going over for his first try for the Dee, converted by Adam Rodgers.
Half-time D’dee 2’s 7 Inst 3’s 5
With the Dee playing down the famous Donaldson Park slope the home side started with a great sense of purpose resulting in a well taken solo effort try from Marcus Gibson which started inside his own half, pushing off a defender and rounding the fullback going under the posts with Adam Rodgers adding the conversion. Sadly Mark Mitchell had to retire from the game with a badly dislocated finger shortly followed by try scoring winger Marcus Gibson with a hamstring problem. The Dee down to thirteen didn’t lose momentum and should have added a number of points from a series of missed penalty kicks on the opponent’s 22 metre line. However credit to the visitors who dug in and pulled back a converted try of their own which led to a tense last ten minutes. The home side edging a thoroughly entertaining match with the score at the final whistle D’dee 14 Inst 12. The return fixture at Shaws Bridge is guaranteed to be a cracker.
This week the 1st XV have a break, the 2nd XV are away to Omagh III and the 3rd XV welcome Randalstown III to Donaldson Park – all games ko 2:30pm.
Players and members are reminded that all fees for Season 2012/13 are due by 30th September 2012.

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