Instonians RFC Seahorses Notes: U19 I XV 22 v Ballymoney RFC U19 I XV 15

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Seahorses U19 notch up another league win away from home.
Ballymoney u19, 15 – Seahorses u19, 22
Saturday 15 December 12, a t Ballymoney
for the shots click HERE
Conditions: fine, pitch heavy after rain the previous day
Seahorses had to face a low winter sun and quite a stiff breeze when they kicked off. For the first 20 minutes they completely dominated exchanges and looked very competent. They forced a throw in near the Ballymoney goal line and drove a well-constructed maul to within inches of the try line and when held up fast passing across the backs yielded a score for Jonny Spratt as he jinked inside the cover defence. Scrum-half, Matt Wilson, added the conversion to leave them 7-0 up after 8 minutes.
A lineout was won near the half-way line and big Andy Duncan, playing at number 8 today, was fed the ball in mid-field. He set off on one of his characteristic charges. As he gained speed would be tacklers were fended off as he ran clear to score a great try wide out. This time Matt Wilson could not add the extras but Seahorses were well in control.
Daniel Lyness, playing at blindside flank, was having a great game with his destructive tackling. Unfortunately after 22 minutes he had to leave the field with a leg injury. This meant that the back row needed changing. Mallik Hasson, normally a second row had to come on at number 6.
As the half wore on Ballymoney came more into the game. A period of pressure near the Seahorse line yielded a scrum on their 5 metre line with their put in. Unfortunately they were unable to clear the ball cleanly and were turned over on their goal line. A series of drives by Ballymoney eventually yielded a try by their number 7 close to the posts after 30 minutes. It was converted to leave the score at 12-7 in seahorses favour at the interval.
It was Ballymoney who drew first blood in the second half. They converted a well struck penalty after 3 minutes to narrow the gap to just 2 points. This blew away any complacency by Seahorses who knew they had a game on their hands. They were able to up the pressure and made some very telling tackles when Ballymoney were in possession. Eventually they forced a 5 metre scrum and from this second row, Luke Connolly, was able to drive in field and feed his second row partner Robbie Alexander as he gather speed close to the line. Robbie burst through the remaining defence to score in a handy position for Mat Wilson to convert after 16 minutes. With a 9 point lead Seahorses looked well in control. Replacements were brought on and most got a good run out. Seahorses were unlucky not to score another try as they maintained most of the pressure. Eventually Matt Wilson kicked another penalty after 30 minutes to increase the lead to 12 points.
Ballymoney were keen to show that they were not finished and as the game went into the closing five minutes they kicked a penalty to the corner, won the lineout and set up their own driving maul. They trundled over for a good try which went unconverted. This left the score at 15-22 to Seahorses when the referee blew “no time”.
This was an entertaining game with both sides showing the strengths of their respective packs. Scrums and line outs were fairly evenly contested and both sides had a strong mauling game. Seahorses made the telling breaks and were that bit slicker in their handling and game management. They fully deserved their win but Ballymoney deserve credit for their resilience which kept the game a fairly close affair. Seahorses can now look forward to a well -earned Christmas break knowing that they had shown plenty of endeavour, with players taking more responsibility and better decision making than the lack lustre draw away to Clogher last week.

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