Donaghadee RFC Official Notes I XV v Ballymoney and III XV v Malone

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Ballymoney 1st XV 37 Donaghadee 1st XV 29
Not to be outdone by the Six Nations scoring spree last Saturday both Ballymoney and Donaghadee put on an excellent display of attacking rugby finishing up with an aggregate points tally of 66 points.
Within ten minutes the Toon men had scored ten points from a penalty and converted try. The Dee hit back with tries from Chris Hamilton ‎and Mark Cooper both converted by Paul Blewitt by which stage only eighteen minutes had passed. In the following five minutes however Ballymoney scored a further two tries – the first of which was converted. After the second of these tries a bit of a skirmish broke out which ended up in a yellow card for Ballymoney and a red for Donaghadee which this took the edge of both teams attacking play until the last ten minutes of the half when the home side again converted a try either side of which Blewitt kicked a penalty.
The second half commenced with the Dee coming out of the blocks all guns blazing and, with Stephen Adams moving into the second row and the pack down to seven men after the sending off, Hamilton and Matthew Stockton upped their work rate so much so that the side appeared as if they were still fifteen strong. Blewitt meanwhile showed he’d brought the kicking boots with him and slotted three from four penalties with no reply from the home team. Eventually, however, the extra man took its toll and Ballymoney scored an unconverted try and a penalty.
In what was a so called “nothing” match all thirty four players should be congratulated on a thoroughly entertaining game.
In this last league match of the season‎ there were strong debut showings from Davy Kirkpatrick and Owen Roberts with both suggesting that they would be up to the task next season.
Malone 4th XV 8 Donaghadee 3rd XV 15
Dee 3rd XV social rugby took somewhat of a serious tone when Andy Monson’s charges travelled to Gibson Park to face Malone IV in the semi- final of the Butler Shield, keen to go at least one step further than the 1st & 2nd XVs had managed in their respective Cups.
On a fine sunny day, under the shadows of Ravenhill, the Dee men knew they would be in for a tough game and would have to play some of their best rugby to make a the Final in three weeks time.
Despite some choice warm up attire, the intensity of same showed what this meant to the Allstars, and if they were able to transfer that intensity into the match then it was the Malone boys who would be left disappointed.
The first half was a tense affair with both teams guilty of making too many unforced errors, the Dee support slightly bemused at the frequency of kicking the ball away when perhaps keeping it in hand may have been the right decision – but – the game is much easier played form the sidelines!
With both teams missing a penalty apiece, Malone got the rub of the green when gifted with a runaway try, when the normally secure Ossie Gordon inadvertently chested the ball into the opposition winger’s hand who went unopposed to the Dee line. Despite this setback, the Allstars did not let it linger and quickly found their confidence and spent the rest of the first half attacking the Malone line until a flowing team move allowed the Gareth Martin into the corner for a well-constructed five pointer that would not have looked out of place in Super Rugby.
The second half started as the first finished, with the Dee men displaying their attacking flair and no fear attitude when once again a flowing back move from their own twenty two allowed Martins to show his pace and raw power by firstly leaving the defence for dead then running straight over the full back. Unfortunately the conversion was missed yet again, leaving the Dee men 10-5 to the good.
With Malone deciding to kick the ball straight to Ossie Gordon in the hope of another mistake he showed slight of foot to first run round the winger and gain some momentum towards his opposite number, with no thought of another side step he knocked the Malone player back from whence he came! This barnstorming run set the Dee pack up and not to be outdone by the backs they kept the ball tight and rumbled up the pitch until Stuart Thompson saw a gap and touched down, much to the delight of the vociferous travelling support – the conversion again going awry.
The ensuing fifteen minutes would test the Dee defence to the ultimate, but a good use of the rolling subs would be key if they were to hold out. Malone quickly scored a penalty and then spent the next ten minutes on the Dee line, but a spirited and determined defence, led by the flying Stuart Robinson, who leapt thought the air to win a line out and secure the ball allowing Andy Monson to clear the ball to touch. Cue the cheers and pitch invasion from a jubilant travelling support, the Dee men had made the final!!!!
Captain Monson was keen for the team to enjoy the result and the great performances from the whole squad, not just in this game but throughout the season to get to this point, but reiterated that the job is only half done and one final huge effort will be required to bring the silverware back to Donaldson Park.

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