Three wins in a row for Firsts

LURGAN 1st XV travelled to play Belfast High School Former Pupils on Saturday buoyed by back to back wins in previous weeks.

They took this confidence into the game, starting brightly and opened the scoring after some decoy running in the backline allowed out-half Stephen Nolan to dummy the midfield defence and run in untouched under the posts to open the scoring. Having converted his own try, Nolan was again on the scoresheet, this time from the kicking tee as he dispatched a penalty to take Lurgan into a 10-0 lead.

With the scrums and line-outs functioning well, and the forwards working hard to offer attacking options, Lurgan extended their lead midway through the half when, after sweeping the ball across the pitch and back, hooker Graham Wickie released centre Dean Swift who was not going to be stopped from 20 metres out.

The Pollock park men continued to attack the home side, who were at this point unable to slow the Lurgan momentum, and after several phases hard working back row forward Jason Kane crashed onto a pop pass five metes out to add another try, which Nolan duly converted to give the visitors a healthy 22-0 lead with half an hour played.

As in all games, the momentum changed and the home side where afforded more opportunities to attack with the ball, and they got on the scoresheet with a converted try to leave at 22-7 at half-time.

From the restart Lurgan were gifted a penalty, which Nolan slotted over to extend the lead, and from the resulting kick off 2nd XV captain David Harvey, playing tighthead prop, produced the highlight of the match for the travelling support as he gathered the kick on the full and rampaged Hulk-like through the would be defenders only to be hauled down close to the High School line.

High School benefitted from the scrappy nature of the game with knock-ons becoming more frequent, and from a scrum they exploited the blindside to score a try which they failed to convert to leave the score 25-12.

The next try was crucial and it went Lurgan’s way when winger Jonny Kingham gathered his own hack ahead to touch down. Although the difficult conversion was missed, the score seemed to deflate the home side, and a converted try from returning second row Stuart Robinson followed by another excellent finish by Kingham meant that at the final whistle Lurgan had secured a 42-12 victory to add to the 46-0 winning margin at home against the same side earlier in the season.

Lurgan travel next Saturday to Newforge to face top of the table PSNI in the quarter final of the Gordon West Cup. Although having defeated the same opponents 23-6 at home two weeks ago, the Lurgan players are under no illusion as to the challenge that faces them next week, but with the prospect of Ravenhill just two games away, they will travel in determined mood.