Perennials RFC Notes: The Effervescent I XV Are Sending A Training Video To Declan Kidney!! The Match Report Is A True & Accurate Description Of The Game & Bangor Did Field A Youthful Side: Report + 23 Action Shots!!!!!!!!!!!!

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On a sunny spring afternoon at Uprichard Park, the Perennials suffered their first defeat of the season losing by 8 tries to 5 against a youthful Bangor side.
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There were some concerns prior to the game when it became apparent that the opposition had youth on their side and our fears were confirmed when Bangor took a 2-0 lead after only 10 minutes. However, the Perennials regrouped and after some brilliant rugby involving strong runs from Terry Moore, Don Thompson and Rab Irwin, Ricky McIlmoyle scored under the posts to reduce the deficit to 2 tries to 1 at the end of the first quarter.

The Perennials then brought the score level with a try in the corner by Kirk McEwan, following a great break by the Perennials centre partnership of Maurice Field and Stuart Porter.

The average age of the Bangor team then rose dramatically with the introduction of Ashley Armstrong playing outside his son Ricky. Ashley reveled in the No10 position and showed he still has all the silky skills, putting a delicate chip into the corner, off his good knee, for the Bangor winger to touch down and give them a 3 -2 lead.

The third quarter started with Ashley Armstrong offering his services to the Perennials. A player’s public ballot resulted in a “thanks”, but “no thanks” result. Not having lost any of his negotiating skills with the referees, a penalty initially awarded to Bangor close to our line was reversed after Ashley offered the referee the benefit of his opinion – a smile and wink suggested this was Ashley giving us a helping hand.

After some frantic end to end play  Ricky McIlmoyle raced onto his own chip forward to score a try to bring the score level again. A further Bangor try was cancelled by birthday boy John Rainey who nipped in to score after a great scrum from the forwards to leave the scores level going into the final quarter.

Gerry O’Donnell claims the Perennials pack were magnificent in the final quarter, dominating the scrums to the extent that he is sending a training video to Declan Kidney. Following another turnover, John Rainey made a great break and when the ball was subsequently moved quickly on the blindside, Emlyn Williamson did very well to strike for the line and slip a pass to allow Ricky McIlmoyle to complete his hat-trick putting the Perennials in the lead for the first time.

As thoughts turned to Ricky McIlmoyle having to buy the whole club a drink for his hat trick of tries, unfortunately the energy of youth won the day, with Bangor running in three late scores to win the match by 8 tries to 5, our only defeat of the season, but perhaps our best performance.

A big thank you to David Armstrong for performing the referring duties and to Bangor for their hospitality and raising over £300 , which they very generously presented to the Perennials for our Charity Account.

Congratulations to Michael O’Reilly on his year of captaincy and the players can now enjoy a short rest before the call to pre-season training from in-coming captain Stuart Porter.

<< Perennials v Cooke/Instonians – 05 March 2012 A crisp, sunny, spring afternoon drew a record crowd to Shaw’s Bridge for our “captains” match against his Cooke/Instonians select. Some 25 players kitted out for Perennials who had the best of the early exchanges, with a great run by Michael McAlister nearly bringing the opening try, only to be caught a few meters short. Soon after, George Neilly, suffering with the hangover from hell, ran in from 50 meters he claims, breaking a few tackles in the process. George was fairly quiet for the rest of the game. Cooke/Instonians came straight back at us and leveled to end the first quarter a try a piece. The second quarter started smartly and new recruit Michael Crutchley powered his way over after a good run and off-load from Kevin Simpson. The Perennials definitely had the upper hand in this quarter with some great handling from the backs, and finished the session 3 -1 up, with a further try from Michael McAlister being the reward for a prolonged passage of attacking rugby. The third quarter saw the introduction of our Golden Oldies front row of Messrs Fusco and O’Donnell, who expressed his concern to the President prior to taking the field, saying he had overheard a team talk, and some nonsense about tactics. The tide then turned and Cooke/Instonians took control of the game. The hot ports at half time had an affect and the Perennials conceded a very easy try when a massive gap opened up in their defence. Andy Cooper then had to leave the field after injuring his shoulder, but we understand it did not stop him playing his fiddle at a function later in the evening. Sustained pressure led to a further Cooke/Instonians try, setting up a final encounter neatly balanced at 3-3. It should be noted that our captain played for Cooke/Instonians in the third quarter and tried much too hard to undo his own unbeaten record. A check of the history books would suggest he is the first reigning Perennials captain to play for the opposition. John Rainey kicked off the final quarter to a scream of encouragement from the captain, rallying the troops for one final push to victory. Where the energy came from we are unsure, but the Perennials played some brilliant rugby in the closing 15 minutes, suggesting random drug testing may be introduced. First, Kevin Simpson went over to score under the posts, and then Don Thompson stole a Cooke/Instonians lineout on their 5 meter line to dive over and give the Perennials a 5 tries to 3 victory, to keep their unbeaten record intact. Congratulations to both teams on a very entertaining match, and in particular to Instonians President, Alan Sweeney (fullback) and Cooke President, Brian Mitchell (out-half) who both played. Our President settled for a pint on the touchline and shouting the odd words of encouragement. Thanks also to the two referees, Tim Lowry and David Armstrong for officiating. Fund raising during the afternoon enabled us to make a generous donation to the Ulster Rugby Referees chosen charity, Plan UK, a world development charity through ‘sponsor a child’. All settled down to watch the France v Ireland match with a pint and plate of curry. Following the customary speeches and tie swapping we headed for home and Willie Oakes went back to the park bench that he slept on the following his fall from grace when he returned from the Monaghan game in February.

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