snippet… It was the Dungannon team that started the game in a positive mood and controlled the territory for long periods of time in the course of the first half. Following early pressure on the Portadown line, Dungannon opened the scoring with a fine individual try from Alex Kennedy. The try was not converted but the Dungannon team had established a 5-0 lead…. see the full story below…
Nutty Krust Tournament Final Portadown U18’s v Dungannon U18’s Wednesday 30th March 2022
The final of this season’s Nutty Krust Tournament was played on Wednesday 30th March when the Portadown RFC U18 team played the Dungannon FC U18 team at 7-30pm. Both teams recorded bonus point victories in their two previous outings in the Nutty Krust Tournament this season so expectations were building for a very exciting Nutty Krust Tournament final. The spectators were not disappointed!
The game was played under the floodlights at a cool, but dry, Chambers Park. A sizeable and very enthusiastic crowd had gathered to watch another entertaining Nutty Krust game, which Dungannon won by 19-15, and which featured quite a few talented players on both teams. Included in the spectators watching the game were Michael Black, Ulster Rugby Talent ID Manager and Rickie Andrew, Ulster Rugby Pathway Development Coach
It was the Dungannon team that started the game in a positive mood and controlled the territory for long periods of time in the course of the first half. Following early pressure on the Portadown line, Dungannon opened the scoring with a fine individual try from Alex Kennedy. The try was not converted but the Dungannon team had established a 5-0 lead.
The Dungannon team continued to press the Portadown defence but, on a number of occasions when they got within striking distance of the Portadown line, a final stray pass or a lost lineout, saw the Portadown team able to clear their line. Ethan Hodgen and Jamie Marshall were particularly effective for the Portadown team when it came to securing line out possession from Dungannon lineouts at this stage of the game.
Despite having limited quality possession at times, the Dungannon team stuck to their attacking policy with Jake Callaghan, Ashley Doherty and Jack Steenson all coming close on occasions. Indeed, only for great defensive inputs from Jamie Hayes, Alex Morton and Ciaran Peterson, on the Portadown team, Dungannon might have increased their lead on a number of occasions.
As it was, and close to the end of the first half, on a rare incursion into the Dungannon defensive zone the Portadown team, through the good efforts of Jamie Hayes, forced the Dungannon team into conceding a penalty. Up stepped Toby Gribben to convert the penalty and reduce their deficit to 5-3 at the break.
The Portadown team started the second half strongly. They took an 8-5 lead when, following a series of plays involving both forwards and backs, a long pass from Nathan Thornton found Harry McCullough with enough space to finish things off in the corner with an unconverted try.
This became 15-5 a short time later when clever work from Ciaran Peterson kept play alive and, following two quickly taken penalties, Ethan Hodgen eventually touched down for the try to which Toby Gribben added the extras.
On their first real visit to the Portadown defensive zone in the second half, the Dungannon team pressurised the Portadown line for a period of time before Jack Steenson touched down over the whitewash for a try. Brian Steenson added the conversion to see the scoreboard now reading Portadown 15-Dungannon 12.
This seemed to galvanise the Dungannon team and, with little time remaining on the clock, they launched one final attack. Good work from Alex Kennedy and Ashley Doherty, presented Jack McAree with the opportunity to finish with a try in the corner. Brian Steenson was successful with his conversion to secure the 19-15 victory for the Dungannon U18 team.
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 “Flat Dogs Gourmet Food” Restaurant, and organised by Ryan, the Flat Dogs proprietor. Ryan was assisted by his Flat Dog colleagues, as well as the redoubtable Syd Rowe, in serving the food. All the players, as well as their coaches, received a Nutty Krust loaf on departure.
Included in the crowd attending the post-match reception were Philip Gregg, Senior Vice-President of the Ulster Branch, IRFU, and former Portadown College, Banbridge RFC, Ulster and Ireland prop, Simon Best.
Simon presented the referee, Matthew Wallace, and his assistants, Norman Gamble and Stuart Campbell, with mementoes of the occasion. Simon then presented the Nutty Krust “Man of the Match Award” to Ashley Doherty, Dungannon RFC U18 team No 8.
Philip presented the Nutty Krust 2022 finalists medals to players from both teams and, at the end of the evening, Brian Irwin, Chairman of Irwin’s Bakery, producers of the Nutty Krust brand, Simon and Philip presented the TC Wells Nutty Krust Trophy to Fintan Loughran, captain of the victorious Dungannon U18 team.