REPORT Bangor 1s 48 v Donaghadee 1s 3

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The twice postponed Towns Cup Quarter Final got underway at last at Upritchard Park last Saturday after having been moved under competition rules to the home of the side originally drawn away. With Jack Cooke having flown to Australia on Thursday, Chris Good & Billy Allen unavailable and Richard Martindale & Stuart Hutchinson absent through injury the Dee had the odds stacked against them from the start only for this to be exacerbated by another key man, Chris Hamilton, starting on the bench due the effects of a chest infection taking its toll during the warm-up. Matthew Martin, Jamie Wilson and Andy McGrugan came into the side for those that were unavailable whilst Matthew Stockton, himself recovering from injury, started in place of Hamilton.

Bangor started strongly and before long were five points to the good when Bradford crossed after sustained pressure on the Dee line with five minutes played. Thereafter Donaghadee took the game to Bangor with aggressive defence turning over ball and controlled phase play causing the home side some difficulties. The excellent Bangor defence remained strong however and they weathered the storm before breaking away down the narrow side for scrum-half Guthrie to score despite what looked like a clear double movement in grounding the ball. The conversion was again spurned and the Dee got in amongst the opposition once again not allowing them to build on their polished attacks by means of stubborn defence in which the back row of Paul Hamilton, Stockton and Conn Crawford were very much to the fore. With locks Martin and Sam Ingham carrying well and Paul Blewitt and skipper Gareth Gordon orchestrating matters the Dee forced play back to the Bangor half and were awarded a penalty after pressure from right wing John Quigg and scum-half Chris Scott  which was duly converted by Mark Cooper. Injury meant that Chris Hamilton was forced off the bench and, even though clearly debilitated by illness, soon brought his not inconsiderable influence to bear in the close exchanges. Although the Dee pressed again, principally through the dangerous running of centre Paul Johnston and the willing supporting of elusive fullback Ryan Irvine, the Bangor defence remained intact and the referee blew for halftime with the score 10-3 in favour of the home side.

The second half got off to the worst start imaginable from a Dee perspective when lack of concentration allowed an overturned scrum with Guthrie finding left wing Widdowson who cut through the Dee defence to score from thirty five metres out adding the extras himself. Ten minutes later Widdowson repeated the dose this time dotting the ball down after repeated attacks from the well drilled Bangor pack in offensive mode.  The exertions of the first half were now taking their toll on a tiring Dee defence and quick ball spun through the threequarters allowed Bangor centre Gamble to breach the Dee defence to touch down and bring the score to 29-3 in Bangor’s favour. Despite their best efforts the Dee defence now had a ragged appearance and Bangor took advantage of the fact that both Johnston and Irvine had had to leave the field with injuries to score three further tries through Bradford, Charles and Widdowson to the leave the full time score 48-3.

A disappointing result then for Donaghadee but, viewed in context, one of the youngest Dee sides to take the field in recent years availed themselves well in trying circumstances and those who played on despite illness and injury, as ever, proved themselves to be a great credit to the Club against opposition who are currently one on the best sides in the province. This was a steep learning curve for youngsters such as Crawford, Gareth Deering, Ingham, Tommy Scullion, Andy McGrugan and Quigg but it will undoubtedly stand them in good stead in the weeks to come as the Dee return to their league programme.


This proved a tough game against the highly experienced Quins side but the Dee dominated on most areas all of the game. The 0-11 score line doesn’t adequately reflect the manner in which the Dee forwards dominated their opposite numbers but does reflect the lack of accuracy at key moments by the Dee’s attack when scoring opportunities were spurned.  There were some great performances in the forwards with special mention to Michael Williamson on debut and the front row of Garth Bennett, Mark Nelson and Adam Torrans who, unusually, played a full eighty mins each. Only try of the day was scored by Robbie Ingham with stand-out performances from Gavin Best and Ossie Gordon.


This Saturday the 1st XV welcome Randalstown to Donaldson Park whilst the 2nd XV travel in the opposite direction with both games kicking off at 2:30pm.


Prior to the Randalstown game there will be Soup & Sandwiches at the Club from 1:00pm and cost will be £5. Those interested in going are urged to contact Bertie Bell as soon as possible on 07470318154 or


This Saturday Italy play Scotland (14:25 ko) and England take on Ireland (16:50 ko) and both games will be shown on the Big Screen in the Donaldson Park Clubhouse.


Female rugby in Ulster is enjoying a huge growth both in profile and in the numbers participating.

At Donaghadee RFC we have a number of girls already playing at the Club who have come through the Mini Section and we wish to add to those numbers and start a girls Under 12 and Under 15 teams at Donaldson Park. Training for the girls is every Sunday at 1pm until 2pm. Anyone is welcome to come along, regardless of whether you have previous experience of the game or not. The sessions will cover all areas of the game and will be delivered by Donaghadee’s Club & Community Rugby Officer and two of our female coaching staff. Girls will learn the basics of the game such as passing, catching, tackling, rucking, scrummaging, the lineout and the roles of forwards & backs. There has never been a better time to get involved so we are looking for new players to help continue the development of the female game at the Club. If there are any girls who have played before or want to try something different please come along on a Sunday and join in with the others taking part.

Our immediate aim is to enter an U12’s team (P7 & Y8 ) to an All-Girl Ulster Rugby tournament on Sunday 13th March 2016. To promote female rugby every girl playing on that team will receive a rugby kit free from Ulster Rugby to play in on the day and to keep afterwards. Please feel free to pass this on to anyone you know that might be interested and, if there are any questions or queries, please contact our CCRO Guy McManus on 07711541500 or at

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