5 minutes, 36 seconds Read

After a very disappointing day in Coleraine last weekend Donaghadee were looking to reinvigorate their season with a home game against Enniskillen who had heretofore claimed some notable scalps in their own league campaign. Once injury & unavailability robbed the Dee of a clutch of players including Andy Todd (hamstring), Tommy Scullion (mild concussion), Richard Martindale (thumb), Paul Hamilton (unavailable) and Matthew Johnston (unavailable) but, on the positive side, Chris Hamilton & Conn Crawford returned from sickness, Mark Cooper from injury and Max Montgomery, Ryan Irvine & Owen Roberts were home for the festive season.
With Dee skipper Gareth Gordon losing the toss Enniskillen elected to play “up the hill” in the first half but this decision – which is nearly always the right one – proved to be part of their undoing. A fired-up Dee sprinted out of the blocks and set up a series of attacks on the visitors twenty two before quick ball was spun across the line to ring-wing Johnny Quigg who used his not inconsiderable frame to steam-roller over his opposite number to score in the corner with Andy McGrugan adding the difficult conversion from the touchline. The score buoyed the Dee faithful on the sideline but the more discerning amongst them feared a backlash from an Enniskillen side with a sprinkling of very talented players in their midst. Hopes were not helped when flanker Matthew Stockton, who had been extremely prominent in early exchanges, had to leave the field with an ankle injury. Stockton was replaced by Max Montgomery who went to No. 8 with Hamilton moving to the flank. Enniskillen attacked at this stage with purpose but when they approached key areas they were repeatedly turned over with Crawford, Hamilton and Montgomery prominent on the floor and the ball was drilled downfield by Paul Blewitt. On nineteen minutes a poor clearance from the visiting side was fielded by McGrugan who cleverly eluded first-up defence before outpacing the remainder of the cover to score an excellent try in the left hand corner which remained unconverted. Donaghadee now had their tails up and successive attacks via Cooper, Irvine and Bill Allen were stopped just short. Scrum-half Chris Scott was varying his options to good effect and the powerful mauling & driving of the Dee eight, with Jack Cooke, Sam Ingham, Chris Good and Crawford prominent, soon drew its reward when, after a series of penalties, Enniskillen lost a man to a yellow card for persistent offending. The Dee opted to scrummage and after a reset drove the Enniskillen pack over the line for Scott to touch down and let McGrugan extend the Dee’s lead to 19-0. After thirty six minutes played the home support were looking forward to the second half they discovered that the Dee had not yet finished the first and they once more drove towards the line through Cooke, Roberts and Hamilton to reach the opposition line before a number of backs joined the maul and drove over for Cooper to score. McGrugan converted to leave the half-time score 26-0 to Donaghadee and a bonus point was in the bag.
As expected Enniskillen began the second half using the hill and wind to good effect and pressed the Dee in their own territory. Once again however the new-found purpose in the side came to the fore and standout defence denied the powerful driving of the visiting eight. Not content to sit back on the scoreline the Dee attacked as limited opportunity afforded them with Cooper & Irvine threatening when in possession and Blewitt orchestrating varied attack through the powerful interplay of Cooke, Hamilton, Good and Montgomery. In defence the Dee remained resolute and, once again, were having the better of the skirmishes both in the maul and on the floor. This pattern continued until the seventieth minute when Irvine took the ball at pace between his own twenty two and ten metre lines, slipped the first-up defender and feinted to pass on two occasions before his pace took him through despairing Enniskillen defence to let him run almost the length of the field to score a magnificent try under the posts. McGrugan again added the extras and Donaghadee began to run down the clock with comfortably controlled defence where Gordon, Roberts, Ingham and Gareth Deering worked manfully to repel the Enniskillen advances. Eventually however sustained driving from Enniskillen created the impetus to carry them over the Dee line and score a consolation converted try to leave the final score 33-7 in favour of Donaghadee.
Clearly a week has made a huge difference to the 1st XV’s season and the passion, power, skill and will-to-win was as evident in this game as it was lacking last weekend in Coleraine. All seventeen players contributed to the win but some huge individual performances from the likes of Cooke, Montgomery, Ingham & Good up front and Cooper and Irvine behind them. Over the years the accolade of Man of the Match has been given to Chris Hamilton on many occasions and on many other occasions it has not – simply on the basis that it would dispiriting for the rest of the side were he to be awarded it each week. In this game however the award cannot go anywhere else – his work on the floor, in the tackle, in rucks and mauls and the physicality and creativity he brings to the side were simply magnificent and underpins the fact that he remains one of the outstanding back row forwards in Ulster Qualifying rugby.
An excellent start then for the new coaching team of John West and John Blewitt (ably supported by Paddy McGrattan, Niall Morgahan, Peter Matthews and Nigel Barker) and they will look forward with no-little positivity towards the side’s next game at Ballymoney on Saturday 9th January 2016.
The 1st XV have an extended break over the holidays and the only competitive game in the Club will be on Saturday 2nd January 2016 when the 2nd XV welcome their Clogher Valley counterparts to Donaldson Park for a first round game in the Crawford Plate kicking off at 2:30pm. The second round of the McCambley Cup also takes place on that day but the 3rd XV have drawn a bye. There is rugby however at Donaldson Park on Boxing Day when a Dee Select XV host a Dee Exiles side with, once again, a 2:30pm kick-off. The bar in the Clubhouse will be open from 1:00pm to accommodate all who traditionally meet up every Boxing Day at Donaldson Park to enjoy the game and the festive atmosphere.
Donaghadee RFC wish all their members and friends throughout the community a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Successful New Year in 2016.

Arab online casinos on ازينو على الانترنت with arab casino games.

Similar Posts