REPORT Nutty Krust Tournament Omagh U18’s v Banbridge U18’s 9th March 2016. By Barney McGonigle

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Nutty Krust Tournament Banbridge U18’s v Omagh U18’s 9th March 2016
The seventh of this season’s games in the Nutty Krust U18 Tournament took place under the floodlights at a cold and crisp Chambers Park when Banbridge U18s and Omagh U18s played the first of the 3rd round games on Wednesday evening. The Omagh U18 team recorded an 18-5 victory which ensures they join Dromore U18’s in the Nutty Krust semi-final draw which will take place on March 30th. This was the second appearance for both teams in the tournament and a sizeable crowd had gathered to watch an entertaining game which featured quite a few talented players on both teams. The game was packed with action from the first minute until the last minute with both sets of players really applying themselves for the entire seventy minutes. Among the group watching the game was Jonny Gillespie, the Ulster Rugby Talent ID Manager. The continued interest of Ulster Rugby in the Nutty Krust Tournament is greatly appreciated by everyone connected with the competition.
The Omagh team took a 3-0 lead early in the game when Luke Murnahan converted a penalty opportunity following a Banbridge infringement at the breakdown. The Co Tyrone team kept the pressure on the Banbridge defence and forced the Banbridge team into conceding another penalty with just eleven minutes on the clock. Once again Luke Murnahan was successful with his kick to put the Omagh team into a 6-0 lead. There then followed a period of Banbridge pressure with Robin Sinton, Ben Jamison, Robin Hewitt and Harry Proctor all asking questions of the Omagh defence. Jimmy Chai, Nathan Cummings and Gavin Reid led the Omagh defensive charge but could do little to prevent Matthew Shirlow taking advantage of good work from his pack and crashing over the Omagh line for a try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Banbridge team had reduced the deficit to 6-5. Both packs then went looking for more quality set piece possession but cancelled each other out despite players such as Gavin Reid and Philip Ewing excelling for Omagh at lineout time with Jack Myles and Robin Hewitt doing likewise for the Banbridge team. This ensured the teams turned round after the interval with the Omagh team maintaining their 6-5 lead.
The introduction of Matthew Clyde into the Omagh team seemed to give them an extra impetus at the start of the second half. Matthew carried the ball strongly on a number of occasions but his team was unable to take advantage of their territorial superiority. Play then, for a time, centred around the half way line with neither team able to get a foot hold on the game. Things sprang back into life as the game entered the final quarter. Gavin Reid finished off a sustained period of Omagh pressure with a fine try close to the posts. Luke Murnahan added the extras to put his team into a 13-5 lead. The Omagh team had the scent of victory in their nostrils and clever interplays, involving both forwards and backs, were keeping the Banbridge defence, with Harry Proctor, Andrew Hollywood and Robin Sinton getting through a lot of work, honest. However, with the final play of the game, Luke Murnahan, Matthew Clyde, and Nathan Cummings combined to send Gavin Reid in for his second try of the night. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Omagh team had finished the game as deserved 18-5 winners.
As usual with the Nutty Krust Tournament the players all received a post-match meal which was sponsored by Jim Hewitt Meats, prepared by the staff in “Scrummies” kitchen and organised by the ever present Sid Rowe. All the players, as well as their coaches, received a Nutty Krust loaf on departure.
Gary Jackson, a key member of the Nutty Krust organising committee, presented the hard working Omagh scrum half, Luke Murnahan, with the Nutty Krust “Man of the Match Award” at the post match ceremony. Gary congratulated both teams for the positive way they entertained all the supporters watching in the course of this game.
The second of the Third Round group stage games in the 2016 Nutty Krust Tournament will feature Ballymena U18’s v Rainey U18’s at 7-45 pm on Wednesday 23rd March. All supporters will be made to feel very welcome.


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