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Ulster Senior League

Ballynahinch Firsts    56   :   City of Derry Firsts   14

Match Report  31 August 2103 by Richard Hart from Ballymacarn Park.

A bright, sunny and windy day greeted the supporters and players who came to watch Ballynahinch RFC 1st XV take on a strong City of Derry RFC 1st XV in the first Ulster Senior League clash of the season at Ballymacarn Park.

With the wind blowing across the pitch it made playing and kicking conditions very difficult and City of Derry won the toss and chose to receive the kick-off, playing towards the Clubhouse.

A long period of play saw both teams struggle with the conditions and each other to gain the upper hand in the match. On 20 minutes, Ballynahinch took the advantage after a run of forwards and backs interplay, constantly attacking the City of Derry defensive line with Robin Harte finally breaking through to score an excellent try in the left hand corner. Michael Lawton missed a difficult conversion with the wind playing a big par. 20 mins played – 5-0 to Ballynahinch.

City of Derry were spurred on by the Hinch score and went on the attack, forcing Ballynahinch to defend, but the Derry pressure paid off with Hinch infringing at the ruck in front of their own posts and a penalty was awarded to the Judge’s Road men. Derry opted for a quick tap and their number 10, Richard McCarter went in under the posts and subsequently converted his own try. 33 mins played – 7-5 to City of Derry.

The Derry try was the wake up call that the Hinch men required and the forwards and backs, working exceptionally well together, went on the attack. On 37 minutes, after excellent ball retention by the Hinch pack, Rodger McBurney made an excellent run down the left hand side of the pitch, breaking through several Derry defenders to run in a try under the City of Derry posts. Lawton converted. Half time – 12-7 to Ballynahinch.

The second half started with City of Derry on the defensive and all the play coming from a strong Hinch pack retaining their own ball and constantly feeding the attacking backs. The Hinch pressure forced the Derry men to infringe at a ruck and Lawton stepped up and added the extra 3 points. 46 mins played – 15-7 to Ballynahinch.

Hinch continued with their pressure immediately from the restart with a clever move from the pack working the ball through several pairs of hands before Moe Simpson scored in the right hand corner. The difficult conversion was missed. 49 mins played – 20-7 to Ballynahinch.

The Judge’s Road men were clearly stunned by the pace of the Hinch attack and it was clear to see the heads starting to drop as Hinch piled on the pressure through both the forwards and the backs. On 53 minutes in the try of the match from an excellent individual effort, Michael Lawton took the ball from outside the Hinch 22, beating several Derry defenders to score in the far left hand corner, much to the delight of the gathered supporters. The conversion was missed. 53 mins played – 25-7 to Ballynahinch.

Not wanting to be left out of the action, the Hinch forwards got straight into the action from the restart with Robert Greer finishing off another flowing move with his own try. The conversion was missed. 55 mins played – 30-7 to Ballynahinch.

The next try came from the Hinch backs with the speed and aggression of their attack leaving the Derry men standing and on 56 mins, Aaron Ferris went in for his first try. Lawton missed the conversion. 58 mins played – 35-7 to Ballynahinch.

The Hinch onslaught continued again from the restart and the Derry men had no answer from the ferocity of the Ballynahinch attack and interplay between the forwards and backs. On 57 minutes, Michael Graham, playing as a lock forward and out of his usual No. 8 position, sold an outrageous dummy to two Derry defenders on the right wing and with a 30m charge went in for his try. Lawton converted. 60 mins played – 42-7 to Ballynahinch.

Hinch kept the pressure on the Derry men and they had to defend hard to hold their line. On 70 minutes from a quick ball from a Hinch line-out, it was moved wide to Ferris who danced through the Derry defence to go in under the posts for his second try of the day. Lawton converted. 72mins played – 49-7 to Ballynahinch.

Hinch again retained the ball well from the restart and after several phases of excellent forwards’ play, John Madden broke through the Derry line to bag a try for himself with Lawton again converting. 74 mins played – 56-7 to Ballynahinch.

With all due credit to the City of Derry men who had faced a ferocious 2nd Half, they did come back with an excellent back attack, catching the Hinch men off guard and the Derry No. 8 Ritchie Baird snatched a late consolation try with McCarter converting.

Final Score: Ballynahinch 56 – City of Derry 14.

An excellent start to the season for the Ballymacarn men as they build up towards the start of the Ulster Bank All Ireland League, which starts with a home match against Cork Constitution on Saturday 28th September 2013 at 2.30pm. Ballynahinch RFC hopes to see a huge turnout of local supporters for this big match, as Hinch enter the top flight of rugby in Ireland as the only representatives from Ulster.

Hinch’s next match is another Ulster Senior League clash away against Malone on Saturday 7th September with a 2.30pm. Hinch 2s also play away at Malone on 7th September with a 12.30pm kick-off.

Upcoming Ballynahinch RFC Events:

Mini Rugby registration will run at Ballymacarn Park for the next three Saturdays from 9.30am. Any children who have started P1 (up to P7) are eligible to join the Club. Why not come along and give mini rugby a ‘try’!!

Saturday 14 September 2013 sees the Club run a charity coffee morning (starting at 10.30am) with all funds raised going to the IRFU Charitable Trust for injured players and allowing the Club to suitably mark the anniversary of the Spence family tragedy.