AFTER weeks of postponements the Lurgan Tigers bounced back in style with a great performance in muddy conditions at Ballynahinch on Saturday morning.
Before kick-off the coaches of both sides agreed to increase the normal mini rugby team size to try out a 13-a side game and also extended the pitch markings to allow appropriate space for some excellent play and three games took place.
Ballynahinch 0 Lurgan 9
In the first game Lurgan started well adapting to the conditions quicker than their opponents and ran in three quick tries in the first few minutes. The home side just couldn’t cope with the strength of the eager young Tigers pack and the visitors piled on further tries before half time, with some excellent team work and slick passing to open gaps regularly in the Ballynahinch defence. The Tigers added further tries in the second half as the conditions deteriorated, with the visitors finishing well on top to record an excellent 9-0 win. Special mention in particular to the tireless running of Jude Matthews, Peter Bird, Jack Shannon, James McMath and Ryan Matthews, but the highlight of the game was undoubtedly a breathtaking try saving tackle by Mitch McClelland. Try scorers: Ryan Matthews 2, Mitch McClelland 2, Ben Mitchell 2, Peter Bird and Peter McGrath.
Ballynahinch 2 Lurgan 2
In game two the home side used their superior squad numbers to rotate players, but the Lurgan team stuck to their task as both teams fought hard in the mud. It soon developed into a very scrappy game with the referee having to separate the ruck on many occasions. A try for both teams in each half kept the scores level and a fair result as both teams really tired. Try scorers: Mitch McClelland (2).
Ballynahinch 1 Lurgan 1
The final game was cut short as the Ballynahinch pitch really cut up badly, but it showed the quality of the Lurgan side that they pushed, worked and looked for the winning score right up until the final whistle sounded. Both teams had given their all, a point noted by onlooking former Ulster star Andy Ward. Try scorer: Peter Bird.
Coach Peter McMath was delighted at the attitude and commitment of his young players who fought for every ball, with the passing and support worked-on in training being very pleasing.