Ulster Senior League Match Report – 11.01.14
Dungannon 3 Ballynahinch 36.
David Napier reports from Stevenson Park
With a watery sunshine at their backs Hinch kicked off in this rearranged Ulster League Game. After a bout of ineffectual kicking the first opportunity for points fell to Dungannon when Hinch were caught offside at a ruck. This chance was missed, but after 13 minutes a promising run by Jordan Grattan, who linked well with Matthew Arneill, was halted just short of the Dungannon line. Due to numerous mistakes by both sides the game failed to flow.
On 20 minutes the visiting back row fell foul of the Referee’s whistle but again the Dungannon kick went wide. A successful lineout followed by a good driving maul provided the backs the opportunity to move the ball wide allowing Aaron Ferris to cross the whitewash for the County Down side’s first score. The conversion was missed.
The visitors doubled their try tally when Ferris again crossed the whitewash after a blistering run, evading five Dungannon defenders to score between the posts. James McBriar converted. Robin Harte, who was injured in the lead up to this try, limped off to be replaced by David Nicholson. Dungannon responded and were successful with a penalty in front of the posts. On the stroke of half time McBriar spotted a gap in behind the Dungannon defence and the quick-thinking Chris Taylor kicked the loose ball ahead and won the race to the touchdown. The conversion was missed leaving the half time score 3-17.
Ballynahinch got into their stride quickly in the second half. From a steady scrum Peter Weir fed Nicholson who made good ground before passing to the supporting Dominic Gallagher. His strength allowed him to hold off two defenders before crossing for the County Down side’s bonus point try.
On 50 minutes Zac McCall replaced Paul Pritchard who was called into action again shortly after this when Peter Weir went off injured. This necessitated a rejigging of the Hinch back line with McBriar to 9, Grattan to 10 and Pritchard on the wing. McBriar made an excellent blindside break and found Pritchard in support, some 40m from the Dungannon line. Pritchard clearly enjoying his new role showed speed and agility to score an excellent try, which was converted.
A number of injuries by both sides added to the stop start nature of the game. With Dungannon down to 14 players an excellent break by Zac McCall took play deep into the home side’s 22. His off-load was superbly picked up by Gallagher who went on to score his side’s 6th try. McBriar’s successful conversion brought proceedings to an end.
Hinch Firsts Team: Chris Taylor, Matthew Nelson, Stuart Orr, Matty McKeown, Michael Graham, Dominic Gallagher, Paul Pritchard, Neil Falloon, Peter Weir, James McBriar, Aaron Ferris, Robin Harte, Stuart Morrow (Capt), Jordan Grattan, Matthew Arneill, Keith Hamilton, David Nicholson, Zac McCall.