A bridge too far for rugby men

Scrum half Jonny Hampton gets the ball away to captain Scott Gardiner.
Scrum half Jonny Hampton gets the ball away to captain Scott Gardiner.

LURGAN’S run of victories came to an end on Saturday as they bowed out of the Gordon West Cup at the semi-final stage.

The Pollock Park side had been in great form going into the tie at Holywood, postponed from the previous Saturday, but their opponents put on a clinical display to dispatch the plucky town side.

Holywood had all the early possession but resolute defence from Lurgan ensured that the home side only crossed the line once midway through the first half.

Lurgan’s best spell came just before half time and after putting together a few phases for the first time in the game they were rewarded with a penalty which out half Stephen Nolan kicked on the stroke of half time to leave the score at 7-3.

Early in the second half Nolan missed a kick to bring the score to 7-6 and from there Holywood kicked on to stretch their lead. They scored two tries in quick succession, breaking at speed and leaving Lurgan defenders in their wake.

Holywood won the battle up front and this dictated the game with their backs enjoying much more possession going forward than their counterparts in Lurgan colours.

Given Lurgan’s scoring prowess in recent weeks it was disappointing to see them make so few line breaks. Lurgan’s most effective weapon was full back Dean Swift but given that he was doing most of his running from deep, his efforts didn’t translate into point scoring opportunities.

Midway through the second half Scott Gardiner gave Lurgan a glimmer of hope when he touched down in the corner after Lurgan’s slickest move of the match.

The hope was short lived as a mistake at a line-out in an attacking position for Lurgan allowed Holywood to break the length of the field and score in the opposite corner.

Holywood added one final try to leave the score 31-8.

Lurgan will be disappointed at this stutter which occurred in their biggest game of the season, however the players will have been buoyed by the sizeable crowd who came to cheer them on.

Next week Lurgan travel to Letterkenny in a bid to make second place in the league their own.