Grosvenor RFC Notes: III XV 23 v Dungannon RFC IV XV 14 + Pythons v Ballymoney RFC III XV Reports Live HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Having gone to bed on Friday night in a white winter wonderland, your correspondent awoke to what could only be described as a miracle of sorts. 90% of the snow which had covered the ground on Friday night had gone and following a now virtually redundant pitch inspection it was game on!
Last weekend the 1s and 2s played at Larne and warmed up together and the feeling in the dressing room before kick off was that ‘Its the 3s, there’s no way we will be warming up with the 1s.’ How wrong they were. After what could only be described as a full Eastern European warm up it was game time.
Dungannon started brightly and put together a number of phases and tested the Grosvenor mettle however first blood was drawn by Grosvenor when Matthew Fitzsimmons scorched clear from half way, beating several would be tacklers along the way to score the opening try with conversion added. Gannon came back hard and pressed the Grosvenor line but some heroic defending was holding them at bay. The Dungannon kicker had a couple of chances to put his team in front but missed 2 relatively easy kicks before they finally breached the line following some lack lustre Grosvenor tackling with the added conversion. Shortly before half time Jonny Greer was yellow carded for offside.
Into the 2nd half and the battle just got harder. Jonny Greer returned to the pitch just in time to slot a penalty to regain the lead. The game then entered a to and fro section with neither team really able to assert their authority. Things would take a sudden change when a scuffle on the touchline led to some angry exchanges and when the dust settled Grosvenor’s very own mild mannered janitor Glen McCready was shown a yellow card. Shortly followed by a red card for the Dungannon outside centre.
Fitzy soon added a second try again scorching in from well outside the 22. Grosvenor now led 15-7 and with Dungannon down to 14 for the remainder of the game a win looked on the cards but Dungannon hadn’t read the script and came roaring back to add a 2nd converted try and the game was back in the balance at 15-14. Jonny Greer added a 2nd penalty to relieve some pressure but Dungannon came hard again with the forwards driving and charging again and again round the fringes. When they finally spun the ball wide Fitzy incercepted and scored his 3rd try this time from his own 22. The Dungannon coach was urging his player to chase him to make the kick harder while I was shouting at Fitzy to go for the posts, Fitzy ignored both cries and carried on in a straight line to touch down. Asked afterwards why he had not gone under the posts he said his calf was going and he could only run in a straight line!
Final score 23-14 in an eventful, full blooded affair with 5 tries and 3 cards. Man of the match goes to Fitzy for his imperious hat trick. But notable performances came from our new scrum half Jamie Ball, who will surely be pressing for higher teams shortly and Cartmill who put his body in all the deep dark places front rowers are supposed to.

Ballymoney Cash in on Weather Conditions
On a miserable afternoon in Ballymoney the Pythons took to the field against an experienced Ballymoney side with little pre-match preparation due to travel delays. Grosvenor opted to play with the strong downfield wind in the first half.
The first 10 mins of the game was blighted with errors from both sides as they grew accustomed to the cold, wet & windy conditions. Grosvenor maintained possession in the Money 22 for long periods with Money struggling to find a way out, as kicking wasn’t an option. Grosvenor were taking the ball on round the fringes but the recycling of the ball was slow which made it difficult to prize open gaps. Finally a good break from Andy Wilson opened up a good opportunity and Steeler picked and went but was stopped 10 yards later, with the gaps finally opening the Money pack went in over the top to stop the resulting ball materializing. Smut slotted the pen. Grosvenor continued to dominate in territory and play but the Money defence was firm and Grosvenor could not find that elusive breakthrough. Smut had another penalty attempt at the end of the half which hit the post and rebounded to Hendy who offloaded to Phil P who made a dash for the line but was barged into touch just short. First half finished 3-0 to the Pythons which was a missed opportunity given that Money were rarely in our half for the 40 mins.
2nd half started brightly with Grosvenor playing much better rugby in the opening exchanges with Ski & Phil P making big charging runs through the centre. Grosvenor again exerted big pressure on Money but this half they could launch the ball 50 yards down field on any subsequent turnover of the ball. Grosvenor countered well through Feidhlim but it was always difficult to gain the yards back. The Money 10 started to dictate the play and kicked well out of hand to gain good field position. Money then went on to score the first try of the game as a number of consecutive pick and goes opened up the Grosvenor fringe defence.
The rest of the game proceeded in a similar fashion with Grosvenor showing some of their attacking flair just for the final pass to go wayward. Money then would pin Grosvenor back with a huge kick and Money would then turn on the pressure. Grosvenor struggled to get back in numbers and Money capitalised scoring a series of tries, including a well worked maul and a nice inside pass from the 10 to their winger which opened up the Grosvenor defence like Moses’s parting the Red Sea.
The game finished 25-3 to Ballymoney which was a little unfair on Grosvenor but they were punished for their lack of urgency and hunger in the first half when they had a strong wind advantage. The attacking performance in the 2nd half was encouraging given that we still pushed for points and had a number of opportunities, something Money could not manage against the strong wind.
There were a few notable performances on the day, the back row (Andy Wilson, Steeler, Steeno) all played well in the loose, Andy & Steeler had a number of charges and went close on occasions. Karl Todd had another good game and showed his mobility around the park and probably had the highest tackle count on the pitch. Man of the match this week goes to one half of a destructive duo in the central of the park, Phil Patterson. Phil had a ‘Do not Pass’ attitude and always made big yards.

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