Limavady 58 Newry 0
Newry were the visitors to The John Hunter Memorial Grounds on Saturday last as the Roesiders began life in Qualifying 3 and the beginning of a journey that will hopefully see promotion back to Section 2 come May. Newry may not be known as a hotbed of rugby, but the Down men have been one of Ulster’s most progressive clubs this passed number of years. And with a third place finish last year, Head Coach Paul O’Kane knew that this was a tricky opener.
Just as in last weeks cup game, the message was to attack the opposition from the off. And the young Roesiders did exactly just that. Captain Marcus McCollum caught the ball from the kick off and lead the charge into the Newry half of the field. Out-half Peter Wilson fed Chrissy Hunter who broke through the Newry rearguard and he threw the ball out to winger Tom McClelland and the young speedster raced clear to touch down in the corner for the perfect start.
Newry did respond well and had a chance to cut the gap soon after, but their full back’s penalty attempt drifted to the left and wide. Soon after it was the home team who had a penalty chance and centre Richard Robinson made no mistake for an 8-0 lead after 13mins. ‘Bob’ didn’t have to wait too long for his next score. One minute infact. Again Wilson and Hunter caused the Newry back line all sorts of headaches and lead another charge into opposition territory and the latter popped a pass to his centre partner to touch down for an 18-0 lead. The next score didn’t arrive for a further 15minutes, and it was well worth the wait. Newry had a scrum in the Limavady ’22’, but lost it against the head. Limavady No. 8 Johnny King picked up at the base of the scrum and popped to scrum half Jamie Miller who raced clear from deep in his own half to touch down under the posts. Moments later another clever backs move involving Wilson, Hunter and Robinson saw the latter chip the ball behind the Newry defence. And with the line at his mercy a recovery Newry defender held Robinson back, but skipper Marcus McCollum was quick to react to the bouncing ball and get his first try of the season. Richard Robinson converted both these scores, and at half time it was Limavady 27-0 Newry.
Try No. five wasn’t long in coming after the change of ends. More great link up play in the back line released Stuart Roddy and the powerful winger raced clear for another Limavady score. The big winger loves nothing more than running from deep and attacking opposition back lines and five minutes later he was side stepping the Newry tackles and racing away to the try line again. But the covering Newry winger came across and put in a tremendous score saving tackle. Unfortunately this resulted in a nasty arm injury for the Newry player and also a lengthy hold up in play.
After the stoppage Newry had to play on with 14 players as rules dictate that teams in Sections 3&4 are not allowed to have substitutes. Hopefully the powers that be will have a review of this ruling in the very near future. The game went flat for the next 10mins as the sides struggled to get any momentum into their play, but with Limavady dominant in all areas of play and the Newry legs beginning to tire the final ten minutes was one way traffic as the hosts ran in four more tries.
First Tom McClelland made another break and a passed to Richard Robinson for the centres second touchdown of the day. It was the Richard’s turn to turn provider as the gaps started to appear in the tired Newry back line and he step up flanker Perry Semple for a rare try. The man that started it all off in the first minute Tom McClelland was involved in the final two scores of the day. First of all he beat the advances of three covering Newry defenders and then with a great bit of skill by flicking the ball between his legs and scrum half Jamie Miller scored his second try of the afternoon.
Centre Richard Robinson brought his personal tally to 23 points for the afternoon with two more conversions and the scoreline at the full time whistle Limavady 58 Newry 0.
Team. B. Wilson, T. McClelland, R. Robinson, C. Hunter, S. Roddy, P. Wilson, J. Miller. L. Clyde, D. Irvine, J. McCollum, M. McCollum, D. Miller, P. Semple, B. Hamilton, J. King.
Next week the Roesiders travel to Promotion favourites Larne. Kick off at The Glynn is 2.30pm.
Training continues every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 7.30pm. Everyone welcome.