Match Report. Nutty Krust Tournament Ballynahinch U18’s v Dungannon U18’s Tuesday 20th March 2018

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Nutty Krust Tournament Ballynahinch U18’s v Dungannon U18’s Tuesday 20th March 2018
The second of this season’s games got underway in the Nutty Krust U18 Tournament under the floodlights at a cold but dry Chambers Park when the postponed Ballynahinch U18’s and Dungannon U18’s game was played on Tuesday evening. The Dungannon U18 and Ballynahich U18 teams recorded a well contested 21-21 draw at the end of an exciting game. Both teams scored three tries and, by virtue of the fact the Ballynahinch team scored the first try under the rules of the tournament the Ballynahinch team were declared the winners. A sizeable crowd had gathered to watch an entertaining game which featured quite a few talented players on both teams. Included in the crowd were representatives of the Ulster Rugby Talent ID Department as well as Ulster player Aaron Cairns and “A” team player Zac Ward.
Ballynahich started the game strongly and took an early 7-0 lead when their impressive No 8, Sean Sweeney, took advantage of good work from Sam Duncan and Nathan Foster before touching down for a try which was converted by Jack Ferris. The next ten minutes saw play in the middle of the pitch with players from both teams getting through a lot of defensive work. Midway through the half Dillon Boyd almost scored a try for the Dungannon team but was stopped just short of the line. Dungannon recycled the ball through the efforts of Bradley Mulholland and, following several phases, Jake Moore barged his way over the line. Diarmuid McKeown added the extras to draw the scores level at 7-7. The last few minutes of the first half produced two more tries. On thirty minutes the Dungannon pack put together a great rolling maul which was stopped illegally by the Ballynahinch defence. From the resultant scrum the Dungannon centre, Shay Toa Maxwell darted under the defence to touch down for a try. Diarmuid McKeown added the conversion to see the Dungannon team into a 14-7 lead. The Ballynahinch team responded immediately and Andrew Foster won a lineout 5 metres out. He blasted his way over the Dungannon line to score a try, which Jack Ferris converted, to leave the scoreboard reading 14-14 at the interval.
From the restart the Dungannon No 8, Adam Roche made a great break before off-loading to Aaron Nelson who was unlucky not to send Dillon Boyd away for a try. Then Sean Sweeney, James Rea and Aaron Lyttle combined to put the Ballynahinch team onto the front foot but good defence from Ross Stewart, Bradley Mulholland and Adam Roche managed to keep the Dungannon line intact. Ten minutes into the second half the Ballynahinch team ran a penalty from their half. They moved the ball successfully to Tom Dologhan who finished with an excellent try in the corner. Jack Ferris was successful with the difficult conversion to put the Ballynahinch team into a 21-14 lead. With just ten minutes remaining the Dungannon team formed a well-executed driven maul, following a 5m lineout, and worked hard to maintain possession of the ball. Eventually, Jake Moore was awarded the touch down and Diarmuid McKeown added the conversion to draw the scores level at 21-21. Both teams worked hard in the final few minutes to go for the winner but both defences were well-organised. The game finished 21-21 but the Ballynahinch team go through to the semi-final having scored the first try on the night.
As usual with the Nutty Krust Tournament the players all received a post-match meal which was sponsored by Jim Hewitt Meats, prepared by the staff in “Scrummies” kitchen and organised by the ever present Sid Rowe. All players, as well as their coaches, then received a Nutty Krust loaf on departure.
Sid Rowe, a member of the Nutty Krust Tournament organising committee, then presented the impressive Ballynahinch No 8, Sean Sweeney, with the Nutty Krust “Man of the Match Award” at the post match ceremony.
This win for Ballynahinch U18’s mean they will play Lisburn U18’s in the first of the Nutty Krust 2018 semi-finals on Tuesday 10th April at 7-45pm.

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