Armagh 2nd XV 24 Ballynahinch 2nd XV 24
15 Dec 2012.
Chris Parker reports from Palace Grounds
Ballynahinch remain top of the 2nd XV league after a draw at the Palace grounds, this was a fair result in a game that would have been excellent viewing for the neutral but frustrating for both sets of coaches. Armagh started brightly and immediately pinned Hinch back in their 22 and waited for mistakes to be made, Hinch managed to relieve pressure through Craig and Lawton clearing their lines.
Indiscipline did not help Hinch and this allowed Armagh possession of the ball and to kick deep into Hinch territory, and when a kickable penalty was awarded, Ferreira made no mistake to put Armagh into the lead. This was followed soon after by a try as Armagh recycled the ball for numerous phases through their large pack. The Hinch defence became stretched and following a pick and go Armagh barged over, Ferreira was successful with the conversion attempt.
This seemed to finally spur Hinch into life and straight from the kick off they attacked Armagh with a directness and accuracy that hadn’t been seen up until now. The 2nd XV got on the score sheet in the 30th minute when a break by Craig on half way saw him link with James who sent Lawton free to go in at the left hand corner for a superb try, the conversion came back off the post.
After half-time Hinch continued to threaten the Armagh line and when Craig ghosted through another gap in the 45th minute he stepped the full back to go in for the try, Lawton added the conversion and Hinch where ahead for the first time in the match. Lawton added on a penalty soon after to take the score to 15 – 5. Armagh continued to try and press Hinch deep into their 22 but great defence allowed for attacks to be turned over and Craig to get Hinch out of trouble.
Armagh started to give away penalties at the break down and from a penalty on the Armagh 10m line; Lawton struck a superb kick to put Hinch 18-5 ahead. Armagh responded positively from this setback and following a turnover just outside the Hinch 22, Armagh worked the overlap to send Faloon in at the corner, Ferreira added the extras. This lifted the whole Armagh side and they looked a transformed side. Hinch still looked dangerous when they got ball in the wider channels but unfortunately great breaks by Nicholson, Heatley and James could not be finished and this was to prove crucial.
Hinch got a penalty on the half way line and Lawton had no problem converting the opportunity and putting Hinch into a 21-17 lead. Hinch now put Armagh under pressure and following great retention in the Armagh 22, they gained a penalty which was kicked by Lawton to give Hinch a 7 point advantage with 8 minutes to go. Armagh again kicked themselves deep into Hinch territory and following many phases Ferreira went over and McNeice added the conversion to leave the scoreline 24 all at full time.
This was a good test for the 2nd XV against an extremely physical and well organised Armagh side, in weeks previous the many line breaks would have been finished but there were plenty of positives from the performance and the squad now look forward to the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup Final on Friday 28th December at Ravenhill against Clogher Valley. This is a great occasion for the team who are now 11 games unbeaten, all support would be appreciated on the day.
Team: D. Nicholson, M. Lawton, P. James, D. Harris, J. Heatley, A. Craig, B. McMullan, D. McGuigan, J. Donaldson, J. McMullan, M. Connolly, B. Mannus, A. Irwin, C. Phillips, S. Orr