Malone Rugby IXV 17pts v City of Derry Rugby IXV 55pts: Ulster Senior League!

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City of Derry Rugby Club went to the top of the Ulster Senior League on Saturday last when they comprehensively dismissed the challenge of Malone at Gibson Park, Belfast. Derry scored nine try’s to Malone’s two and secured a bonus point victory in the process. Confidence is high in the North West following City of Derry’s unbeaten start to the season in all fixtures including League, Ulster Senior Cup and Friendlies. They begin their challenge in All Ireland League Division 3 next Saturday with a trip to Clifden to take on Connemara in their first game at this level since they were relegated three seasons ago.

Malone who play in All Ireland League Division 2 started strongly on Saturday last and following early pressure were 3pts up after 5 minutes when their out half Josh Pentland kicked a penalty following a Derry infringement. Derry were suddenly awoken from their car trip to Belfast and from the kick off they scored an exquisite converted try to take the lead which they never relinquished. The forwards won the restart and Andrew Semple received quick ruck ball to chip delicately over the Malone defence to allow winger Simon Logue to beat two men and gather the ball to touchdown and Richard Peoples added the conversion 7pts to 3pts for Derry.

The Derry play went to a higher level and impressed all present with their brand of powerful running rugby and quick off loading the ball before and at contact with support players at every side of the ball carrier. The game was over as a contest and the bonus point in the bag during a five minute spell before the end of the first quarter. Derry produced clinical finishing, firstly on 15minutes when following a 5 meter lineout David Houston found Richard Baird who powered past two tacklers to score an unconverted try wide out. The Derry pack were dominant with David Witherow, Sam McAuley and Sam Duffy producing a solid scrum platform for their outstanding back row of Baird, Ferguson and Simms to dominate at the breakdown and in the loose.

Man of the Match Stephen Simms scored an unconverted Try on 17 minutes following solid forward play by Bob McKillop and David Houston that allowed Andrew Semple to put Simms through the gap. Derry were back on the attack from the kick off and a searing break by Captain Sam McAuley set up a try for Houston which Peoples converted to make it 24pts to 3pt to Derry with a bonus point. Josh Pentland got in for a try for Malone which he converted himself to reduce the arrears on 30 minutes.

Derry finished off the first half in style with two further try’s, on 35 minutes out half Richard Peoples who is in top form at the moment made a break from outside the 22 and was hauled down by the goal line but prop David Witherow was on hand to pickup and touch down between the posts for Peoples to convert. Peoples produce another fine break on 40 minutes and centre Ryan Campbell was on hi shoulder to take a pass and score by the posts with Peoples converting, the half time score was 38pts to 10pts for Derry.

Derry started the second half with a bang, Stephen Corr had replaced Ferguson just before half time and with the second half just 5 minutes old a Derry scrum 15 metre out saw a classic No8 pickup by Corr and pass to scrum half Semple for an easy unconverted try. Malone to their credit responded and following good forward play second row Willie Woods powered over for a try which Pentland converted to make the score 43pts to 17pts in Derry’s favour.

Derry with the game won cruised through the second half but they finished the game in style with two further late try’s. Jack Caithness had come on for William McCleery on 30 minutes and immediately made an impact when he made a fine break down his wing with little room and released Peter Henderson for a run in try which Peoples converted. Caithness was involved again 2 minutes later when an intricate passage of play between himself, David Funston and Semple produce the opening for Henderson to score another try which was not converted leaving the final score 55pts to 17pts.

City of Derry Team: Davy Witherow, Sam McAuley, Sam Duffy, Bob McKillop, David Houston, Richard Baird, Stephen Ferguson, Stephen Simms, Andrew Semple, Richard Peoples, William McCleery, Ryan Campbell, David Funston, Simon Logue, Peter Henderson. Replacements: Stephen Duffy, Rodney Balfour, Stephen Corr, Jack Caithness.

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