Stuart’s late try seals fine win

LURGAN Seconds entertained Randalstown Seconds last Saturday and emerged victorious by 24 points to 17.

The visitors began to up the tempo in the first ten minutes of the game, scoring a penalty and narrowly being denied a try with the final pass being thrown forward.

Lurgan’s pack showed no signs of physical weakness against their opposition and were strong both in defence and attack. The back line was marshalled ably by new recruit Johnny Hampton at scrum half and Stephen Nolan at out half, while the combination of new centres Peter Foster and Peter Williams were beginning to show the promise that would be revealed throughout this game.

Lurgan managed to move into a 6-3 lead with two Nolan penalties before Randalstown scored a converted try, taking the score to 10-6 in their favour. Strong running from Pete Foster and great support from Lurgan’s back row of McBride, Collins and Calvert saw the ball finally moved along the back line to Nolan in space. Lurgan’s experienced outhalf knew exactly what to do, drawing the final defender in, delaying the pass to the very last second before putting centre Peter Williams away and clear for a wonderful converted try.

Nolan added another two penalties in quick succession, stretching Lurgan’s lead to 19-10 and giving the packed sideline hope that they could indeed win despite their early difficulties.

Randalstown then moved into their best spell of the match. Using their clear superiority at the lineout, they kicked a penalty into the corner and set up a rolling maul off the lineout. Play remained in Lurgan’s 22 for some minutes, with the home side defending resolutely, before a Randalstown player was rendered unconscious by a blow to the head.

With play delayed by some 20 minutes during which time the player was treated by a paramedic, the game resumed with Lurgan still camped on their own goal line. The disruption to the game apparently favoured Randalstown, who eventually used their tried-and-trusted tactic of the driving maul to go over for a converted try..

Randalstown again worked their way forward putting their out half in an ideal position for a drop goal. His attempt sailed wide by the narrowest of margins.

With darkness falling, Lurgan’s defence saw them strip the ball from a Randalstown attacker and spread it quickly wide. Stuart Johnston continued his rich vein of try-scoring form this season by latching onto the final pass and racing clear to touch down in the corner.

His try brought relieved cheers from the home support, with the referee blowing the final whistle upon Nolan’s failed conversion.

This weeks away trip to Newry is now a crucial fixture in Lurgan Second’s season, one which could see them move clear into the top three depending on results elsewhere.