Lurgan Seconds 22
Instonians Thirds 12
Lurgan Seconds overcame an early set-back to see off Instonians Thirds at Pollock Park on Saturday.
From the kick off Lurgan contrived to make a mess of catching the ball and with the ensuing pressure Instonians charged down an attempted clearance and scored. 5-0 to Instonians and only two minutes on the clock.
This was a rude awakening for the Lurgan men and they resolved to start again. The re-start was regathered by Instonians and their pack ran the ball hard at Lurgan’s defence, after several phases and a couple of scrums which the front row of Andy Gray, Graeme Currie and Graham Wickie disrupted Instonians managed to work their way into Lurgan’s 22. A penalty conceded five meters out left Lurgan defending courageously but after recycling through the back division Instonians scored again and added the conversion to go 12 points clear.
Again Lurgan didn’t let this set back overwhelm them, this is a side full of leaders and aggressive chasing by Matthew Laird and Jason Kane led to a poorly executed clearing kick by Instonians and at last some field position for the Lurgan men.
Danny Lyness claimed the line out and from the driving maul Lurgan whipped the ball wide to allow Jamie Clarke and Chris Wamsley to get across the gain line and into the visitors 22. From the ensuing phase play Danny Lyness forced his way over to score a vital try.
Lurgan got themselves back in possession and up to Instonians 22 where Andy Stevenson showing his usual trickery side stepped his way to score after some great approach work and play by Matthew Johnstone and Danny Cairns.
The tone for the rest of the game was set just before half time when the smallest man on the pitch Jason Wallace stopped the largest, Instonians captain Brian Wallace, in his tracks with a try saving tackle which forced the big centre into touch.
The second half started with Lurgan dominant and Instonians this time failed to gather the re-start putting themselves under pressure, the Lurgan scrum and line out was functioning well with Daniel Lyness and David Wellwood able to secure their own ball to allow clean possession for the backs all of this made possible by the lifters Josh Boyd and Graeme Currie.
Mathew Johnstone making a welcome return to Lurgan started to run at the Instonians midfield and by creating room for Danny Cairns and Drew Davies Lurgan were able to stay camped in the opposition half.
A penalty just outside Instonians 22 and to the left of the posts was awarded to Lurgan and Jordan McIlwaine stepped forward under significant pressure to slot the kick and put Lurgan one point ahead with 20 minutes to go.
Daniel Lyness and Mathew Laird combined to surge back into the Instonians half and despite a few penalty’s conceded by Lurgan, Instonians could not clear their lines or gain any advantage from the line out.
With the clock ticking away and Lurgan were able to dictate the pace of the game and scrum after scrum ate into the time, a penalty awarded on the half way was pumped down into the Instonians 22 and the line out produced quick ball for the Lurgan backs who with the forwards securing the break downs created enough pressure to force a penalty five meters out. Jason Wallace sent his pack to the open side and with Instonians lining up to defend the Lurgan ball carriers, a quick tap and pass inside to the blind side saw Chris Wamsley smash over to score a try. Jordan McIlwaine who shared the man of the match award with Daniel Lyness added the conversion to leave the score 22-12. That conversion was the final kick off an enthralling game against excellent opposition.
Special thanks to the hard working Graham Wicky, Mathew Laird and Danny Cairns who all stepped in at short notice.
The Lurgan players pass on their best wishes to regular front rower Paddy McVey who missed the game after the birth of his baby son hopefully another prop in the making!
This week it’s an away game at league leaders Carrickfergus.