Strabane RFC Notes: Our I & II XV ARE BOTH LEAGUE CHAMPIOOOOONNNNNNNNSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS With 2 Games to Spare!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Strabane created history on Saturday when both of their teams won their respective leagues with 2 games spare. The 1’s beat Donegal 73-6 to win Qualifying 3 and the 2’s beat Limavady 3s 39-3 to secure the Minor League North title having remarkably won every game.

The firsts welcomed Donegal to Liskey Rd and like all good hosts let the visitors score first.
After that, there was to be no more sympathy for them. A 10 try demolition ensued, with John Mitchell deservedly grabbing a hat trick, Norman Lindsay speeding in for a brace and there were also scores for John Puffin Blair, Davy Rankin and Eddie McCrea. The scoring was completed in some style by Jeff Mealiff, who scored 2 tries and had a 100% kicking record with 10 conversions and a penalty. There was no argument when the Cilento Man Of The Match was split between Jeff and John.
The game was notable for the return of Davy Rankin to outhalf, who looked like he hadn’t missed a minute of the season, let alone three quarters of it. Hugh Flanagan was outstanding in a terrific display from the pack, and made some powerful breaks. From one such charge Hugh did remarkably well to handoff one tackler and offload to the supporting rankin, only for him to trip over his feet and land on his hole, with the line at his mercy. Scrumhalf Timmy Cummings was caught on camera doing a swallow dive over the line, only for the referee to rightfully disallow the score for acting like Chris Ashton.
The first XV showed a few changes from last week, but the men that came in put their hands up for the Gordon West cup final and coach Wily Gibson has all the right kinds of headaches.

The 2’s continued their impressive league campaign with a comprehensive victory over their only remaining contenders, Limavady 3’s. The 39-3 victory made it 16 wins out of 16 games and was all the more impressive considering they were missing their regular kickers and out halves, Simons maxwell and Mowbray. Clive Allen filled the 10 shirt, nowhere near as snugly as the two rotund gentlemen named above, but with no little skill and he showed his versatility to the team.
Cricky Hamilton needs a special mention for playing between a wedding service and reception and we hope he didn’t look too rough when he got to the hotel. He celebrated his appearance with a try and was helped by Matt McIlwaine (again), skipper Nigel Finlay and Johnny Kee – the legend continues:-). Stand in kicker Alistair gore also got a brace and kicked 3 conversions and a penalty in a stand out performance. The whole team gave everything to the cause, and the spirit was epitomised in the final minutes when they fought tooth and nail to hold Limavady out and even hold them up over the line. The Ravenhill cup will be uncharted territory in a few weeks time and we hope to meet the other genuine minor league winners and test ourselves against the best at this level

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