This was a very workmanlike league win with plenty of good rugby on view from both sides.
Instonians were in control after a converted try by captain Cameron Williams after just 45 seconds. They kept Portadown on the back foot and won most of the important breakdowns. Instonians showed good structure and cohesion with some of the tackling being first class. During the first half Portadown were confined to long, but speculative, kicking, that was run back at them by full-back Jonny Gilkinson -who had a great game but must learn to carry the ball in both hands and create options for his supporting backs.
Cameron Williams kept chipping away at the score board as pressure inside the Portadown half brought kickable penalties. He converted three – in 18th, 25th and 33rd minutes to leave Instonians comfortably ahead at 16-0 at half time.
Although Instonians drew first blood, with another Williams penalty after 5 minutes, Portadown now started to exert pressure and after some strong approach work they were rewarded with a good converted try after 10 minutes. The middle of the half was a tit for tat affair with both sides mounting attacks but not being able to turn them into points. A little more patience and precision would surely have brought Instonians a couple of tries in this period – but delayed passes, knocks on and “white line fever” cost them.
The deadlock was broken after 25 minutes when centre Callum Lyle completed a scything run through the Portadown defence to score at the posts. Williams added the extras. The final score came when winger Charlie McKerr completed a strong running backs move to touch down in the corner. The referee was unable to give the conversion as he was unsure but most Instonian supporters thought it was over- as did Cameron himself! With a tally of 26 (or was it 28?) points Cameron must surely be awarded the “man of the match”.
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