Seahorses I XV Notes: Honours even at Clogher

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Clogher u19, 10 – Seahorses, 10
Played at Clogher on 8 December 2012. Conditions dull, cold and heavy going.
Seahorses travelled to Clogher with a much changed team from the one which played Belfast High School last week. Around six players were unavailable due to injury.
The heavy conditions made open running rugby difficult and the game soon became a forward battle. Clogher probably had the better of the first 15 minutes. They were able to camp down in the Seahorses half and benefited from a series of penalties awarded by the referee. Their place kicker could not find the target on several occasions. It looked like the Seahorses’ defence would hold out but after the ball went through a number of phases Clogher found a gap to cut through for a well taken try after 13 minutes. The try went unconverted.
From the restart Seahorses mounted their own pressure and forced Clogher to infringe near their posts. Scrum-half Matt Wilson converted after 18 minutes. The rest of the half was a nip and tuck affair with neither side gaining much ascendancy. Seahorses enjoyed an advantage in the scrums but found good quality line out ball hard to come by. Generally the defences were to the fore and the conditions led to quite a number of handling mistakes. The half ended with Clogher holding a slender 5-3 advantage.
Clogher went on the attack in the early minutes of the second half and it took very determined Seahorses tackling to hold out wave after wave of thrusts close to their goal line. Eventually the siege was lifted and they won a series of quick balls inside the Clogher half. A very determined run from big second row, Andy Duncan, proved impossible to stop and he brushed through a host of would be tacklers to score a great try under the Clogher posts after 8 minutes. This was converted by Matt Wilson. This should have been the signal for Seahorses to push on and make the game safe. Alas it was not to be. Clogher again found a foothold inside the Seahorses 22. They forced a series of penalties and 5 metre scrums and were unlucky not to score. Credit must go to Seahorses for some very determined tackling. The siege was lifted when they turned over ball and won a penalty. The game then became a rather scrappy affair. The best running and handling came from Seahorses with both centre Jonny Spratt and winger Kadhum Hasson making telling dashes. But there was just not enough continuity. Balls were turned over in contact and Seahorses also fell foul of the referee on too many occasions.
Clogher were now using a kicking game and one rather speculative kick to the corner paid off handsomely. A high bounce eluded everyone but a Clogher chaser. He grabbed it and sent one of his fellow players in for a try in the corner after 27 minutes. The conversion from wide out hit a post and bounced out. This left the scores tied at 10-10. Seahorses still had time to take the game and tried hard to do so. Eventually they ran out of time and a draw was probably a fair but rather unsatisfactory result. Everyone travelled back to Belfast in rather sombre mood knowing that as a team they could have done better, although there were several encouraging individual performances. Main memories of the game will be Andy Duncan’s great try and a tackle he made in first half when he nearly put the rampaging Clogher fullback onto another planet!

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