REPORT: Donaghadee RFC 1s register a bonus point victory over CIYMS RFC 1s

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A strong start by the Dee put CIYMS on back foot early in the first half with tight head Chris Good setting a tone for his forwards with powerful direct running into the bullish CI pack. In the third minute a neat chip into the clubhouse corner by Billy Allen kept the pressure on which paid off when the home side recycled ball deep in the CI 22 and out-half Paul McKenzie exploited a gap in the defence to tumble over for opening points with Mark Cooper adding the extras.
Donaghadee continued this early dominance for the first quarter of the game & when eventually exposed the redoubtable Billy Allen was on hand with two try saving tackles in this initial period
On 22mins CI broke from the centre of the pitch and after a transfer of ball through a number of support runners they scored their first try of the day. The conversion was missed but on 26th minute the Belmont men edged ahead for first time with a well taken penalty. The Dee hit back, however, just before half-time when, after sustained pressure, Stephen Adams emerged from the breakdown with ball in hand and intelligently fed the formed line. A neat transfer between McKenzie and Gareth Gordon saw the latter pounce over the line. The kicked was missed leaving the half-time score 12-8 to Donaghadee.
CIYMS started the second period with great purpose and scored in the 45th minute. After a period of pressure on the Dee’s line it was a misplaced pass that eventually wrong footed the home defence and the energetic CI scrum half Michael Wilson crossed the line unchallenged from close range to leave the visitors with a 15-12 lead. Whereas Donaghadee had been very much on the back foot in the second-half exchanges with the strong and purposeful CIYMS outfit this was, however, was to be the last score of the game from the Belfast side as the pendulum now swung very much towards the Donaldson Park side whose determination and desire to capture their first league win of the campaign was palpable to those watching on the sidelines. Suffice to say the Dee now took control of the game with Richard Martindale (in his first game of the season) and Conor Fulton (returning after an extended period of unavailability) to the fore and went on to score two tries through Chris Hamilton and McKenzie in the 51st and 62nd minutes respectfully. The determined CI side fought back but an extremely committed defensive effort kept them out before Cooper put the game beyond doubt for Donaghadee with a penalty goal taking the score to 27-15. With CIYMS continuing to play catch-up the icing on the cake for the Dee was a late converted try from skipper Alastair Lockhart leaving the mean in red and green victors by a 34-15 margin and, in so doing, hoping to kick-start their season with this bonus point win against old rivals in what was a fantastic game of Qualifying One rugby.


Donaghadee Seconds travelled to Mallusk on Saturday in buoyant spirits after last weekend’s defeat of Ards in the league. Ophir provided the opposition in the first round of the Forster Cup and the Dee took to the pitch in perfect playing conditions. Ophir kicked off and the opening exchanges were frenetic with the experienced Dee pack making providing quick ball for the backs to attack. The pressure told with Ophir infringing at the breakdown, Andy McGrugan duly converted for an early 3 – 0 lead. This score seemed to inject more urgency to an already rampant dee team. Scrum half Chris McGivern made a searing break from his own 22, ably supported by Jordan Ellingham with the ball eventually reaching Andrew Mitchell who fought well to touch down wide on the left. McGrugan (pictured), who has blossomed into a very reliable goal kicker, added the difficult conversion. The spirited Ophir side kept coming at the dee but great defence scuppered their efforts with David Kirkpatrick and Mitchell sealing up the midfield and the back row of Owen Roberts, Ellingham and veteran Andrew Dunn making the big hits. The Dee continued to put pressure on the Ophir line but uncharacteristic handling errors at crucial times let Ophir off the hook. At this point an injury to the Ophir prop resulted in unopposed scrums which was a blow to the Dee front row of McMurray, Bennett and Savage whose dominance was really beginning to bear fruit. After some great phase play the forwards provided quick ball for the backs with McGrugan’s pace taking him around the defence for Dee’s second try. Half time score 17 – 0
A typically honest half time team talk from coach Blewitt (Senior) ensured that no complacency crept in as the Dee kicked off the second half. Again Ophir fought hard and tested the ‘Dee defence, gaining valuable go forward ball but the ‘engine room’ of Mark Mitchell and Phil Collins stood firm and a fantastic turnover resulted in McGivern showing his pace to score a fantastic individual score. This score seemed to take the wind out of Ophir’s sails and the Dee capitalised with some top class handling and incisive movements. The game was beginning to get loose and open and this suited the speedy backs of McGrugan, Bailey, Henry and McGrattan. The last fifteen minutes was the Andy McGrugan show, with the flying winger scoring three tries and converting one. The pleasing aspect of these tries was that they came from controlled, measured phase play which created the space for the backs – real team tries.


This week the 1st XV travel to Barban Hill in Dromore for the first of the two league meetings between the two sides this season. The 2nd XV are the only team at home on Saturday when the take on Ballyclare 3rd XV – again in the league. Meanwhile the Andy Monson inspired 3rd XV travel to Hatrick Park in Magherafelt where they will meet Rainey OB 4th XV in the First Round of the McCambley Cup. All games kick-off at 2:30pm.


Although the deadline for returns is tonight (Thursday 4th) if there are any stragglers out there please ensure tickets and cash are submitted to either Paul Blewitt or Chris Good by 5pm on Saturday 6th. This is a major fundraising effort by the Club so PLEASE support the venture if you can. In the meantime many thanks are due to all those who have either sold tickets or contributed or both – the draw will take place at Ravenhill on Wednesday 10th December 2014.

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