1st XV make it 9 in a row with bonus point win at home to Dromore

Two weeks age the 1st won on the road at Clogher Valley.

Today the league campaign was kept very much alive with a hard fought bonus win at home to Dromore by 28 points to 10.

Instonians leave it late to secure bonus point win over Dromore
Instonians 28 – Dromore 10
Date: Saturday 10 February 2018
Venue: Shaw’s Bridge
Conditions: cloudy, overcast and damp but no rain during the game

It was back in the middle of October when Instonians suffered their only defeat in the Kukri Ulster Championship Division 1 this season. This was away to Dromore when they squandered a 19-0 lead to go down to a converted try in the last move of the game. If this season’s league challenge was to be maintained it was imperative that they did not slip up again.
The team sheet looked strong with Gareth Burns-Delaney at full-back after a 12 week lay-off. Otherwise the half-backs and three-quarters were along familiar lines. Rory McCurry came in to partner Sean Shuttleworth in the second row allowing Roger Wilson to drop back to number 8. Aaron Davis was at number 6 and captain Josh Atkinson completed a very mobile back row. Hooker Neill Saulters made up a strong front row with John Andress and Alan Whitten. Conor Gallagher and Harry Cleland were on the bench.

Instonians kicked off but were almost immediately penalised at the breakdown inside the Dromore 22. However, they pilfered the resulting line out and were back on the attack. Neill Saulters made a lot of ground before the pack were forced into touch just 7 metres out. They stole the line out again and drove through the phases close to the line to give big Sean Shuttleworth an unstoppable charge for the first try of the game. Fraser Wright converted to put the home side 7-0 with barely three minutes gone. 

Almost from the restart Instonians were penalised again at the breakdown to allow Dromore to kick to the 22. From the line out they took the ball to mid-field where the home side were adjudged to be offside some 30 metres out. Dromore kicked for goal to bring the score back to 7-3.

Within a few minutes Instonians were on the scoreboard again. Josh Atkinson took a great ball at the line out to set up an attack. Dromore infringed at the tackle. Instonians mauled from the resulting line out and then scrum half Matthew Keane made a telling break which took him close. The support carried the move on in a series of charges which ended when Neill Saulters touched down under the posts after a great forward drive. Fraser Wright’s conversion brought the score to 14-3 with just 12 minutes gone.

Dromore went back on the attack. Instonians were adjudged to have thrown “not straight” at a line out on their own 22. They were then penalised at the resulting scrum after pushing Dromore back several metres. The kick at goal was well short and Instonians were able to clear the danger.

The home side pack was proving dominant at the set piece, with the scrum becoming an increasingly potent weapon. It earned them another penalty. Then Dromore dropped the maul and Instonians were able to set up camp on the opposition 5 metre line. After several collapsed scrum penalties, the referee had no option but to award a penalty try to put Instonians 21- 3 up after 28 minutes. At this stage it looked like they were cruising to victory. They maintained dominance in terms of possession and territory. Dromore had little ball to play with and when they had it they made simple errors. Instonians were back on the attack again when the referee blew for half-time.

Instonians started the second half with a flourish but several scintillating back moves ended with knock-ons. Eventually it was Dromore who wrestled back the initiative when Instonians were again penalised at the breakdown. They made their way up into the Instonians 22 and held the ball through a lot of phases. Instonians continued to dominate the scrums. They had several scrum penalties which gave them the opportunity to move out of their own half. However, there is no doubt that Dromore were now tackling with a lot more resolve and putting the home side under pressure which was causing errors. There was a definite change in momentum as Dromore wrestled their way back into the game. They were holding the ball well and taking it through the phases. The game now became more like trench warfare. At first the Instonians tackling was resolute and it looked like Dromore would come away with little reward. But then three penalties in a row, all around the breakdown, allowed Dromore to keep up the pressure inside the home side’s 22. They came in close to the try line on several occasions only to be repulsed. 
Eventually the referee showed a yellow card to John Andress for persistent team infringing. From this Dromore kept up the pressure close to the Instonians line for a lengthy period. They held the ball through many phases and eventually forced their way over for a converted try to bring the score to 21-10 after 70 minutes.

Any thoughts that Instonians were about to implode were soon put to rest as they went right back on the attack from the restart. Even with 14 men they were able to reassert their grip on the game. Another scrum penalty put them inside the Dromore 22. From here they attacked through phase after phase close to the line. Dromore infringed again right on their line and under the posts. Instonians elected to scrummage, although the scrum was reduced to uncontested when a Dromore front row player went off injured, they used the ball from the scrum well. First, they sucked in the Dromore cover and then moved it wide to give young full-back Gareth Burns-Delaney the chance to dive in at the corner for the vital bonus point try. As Fraser Wright converted from wide out the referee blew for the end of the game. As in the first half it appeared to be several minutes early. But, no matter, Instonians had their bonus point win. Now they march on to next week for their away game with Ballyclare in what could be the league decider.

Team 1 to 17: John Andress, Neill Saulters, Alan Whitten, Sean Shuttleworth, Rory McCurry, Aaron Davis, Josh Atkinson, Roger Wilson, Matthew Keane, Fraser Wright, Michael Melville, Daivid Scott, Ben Scott, Matt Kilpatrick, Gareth Burns-Delaney, Conor Gallagher, Harry Clelland






Next 1st XV match is this sat 17th Feb

Away to Ballyclare 1st XV in the league at 2.30pm

1st play 2nd with four games left!!



Next pre-match lunch is sat 3rd Mar – Home to CIYMS

To book a place at the pre-match lunches please contact:

David Croft

0788 591 8145


Ken Bamford

0783 466 5095















Pre-match lunch available












Pre-match lunch available