1st XV go top with 5 points at Portadown

Instonians notch a good bonus point win away to Portadown

Portadown 12 – Instonians 34
Date: 2.30 pm, Saturday 9 February 2019
Venue: Chambers’ Park, Portadown
Fixture: Ulster Rugby Championship Division 1
Conditions: Started in bright sunshine and strong wind and ended in wet, miserable weather.

Instonians got what they wanted most in this game – a precious bonus point win. The win now moves them up to top the table; although it must be remembered that previous leaders Ballyclare were not playing in the league today and thus have a game in hand. Likewise, third place Dromore were not competing in the league and have two games in hand. It remains incredibly tight for the first three positions. Nonetheless, this was a much improved performance from Instonians after their lack lustre performance in the close win against CIYMS in their last outing.

It was great to see big Dennis Shuttleworth come in for his first league start at loosehead. His brother Sean joined him from the bench, which meant the first time they were playing together in a competitive match for the first XV. Both have come up through the ranks for Instonians youth. Conor Gallagher moved to hooker in the absence, through injury, of Neil Saulters. John Andress joined Tom Matthews in the second row. The back row had a different look about it. Kiwi pair Massimo Kiri Kiri and Cameron Barr were the flankers and Lewis McNamara was welcomed back from his studies in Scotland at number 8.

Wayne Kelly was making his first start for the firsts at full back and Ross O’Donnell was able to move back to his more familiar wing position. Colm Cregan joined Sean Shuttleworth on the bench.

Instonians kicked off into the strong wind and sun. They had a dream start when Portadown were penalised in the first contact. They kicked down into the corner, mauled from the line out on the 22, captain David Scott broke through with the charge down the middle to set up a ruck just a few metres out. Prop forward Alan Whitten was on hand to take the ball over the line with a forceful drive for the first try of the game. The conversion failed when the ball dipped just under the crossbar from wide out but Instonians were 0-5 up with less than two minutes gone.

Portadown, not to be outdone, hit back less than three minutes later with an even better try. Instonians could not clear the restart and handed the home side a scrum just 18 metres out. They moved the ball wide, first from one side of the field and then to the other with some great handling. Their left-wing Jack Orr came in at speed through the middle to create the initial space. He drew the cover and then off-loaded to captain and centre Mark Adamson who was too strong and broke the tackle to dive in at the corner. The try went unconverted but we were back at 5-5 with less than 5 minutes on the clock.

Portadown had another penalty soon after but could not win the attacking line out. Next it was Instonians turn to lose a line out after a penalty but Portadown could not hold onto the ball as they attempted to move it wide. At this stage Instonians lost full back Wayne Kelly with an ankle injury to be replaced by Colm Cregan. From the restart scrum, just 27 metres from their own line, centre Matt Kilpatrick burst clear and ran almost three-quarter of the pitch for a super try. This time out half Richard McCarthy was able to add the conversion and Instonians were 5-12 up after 15 minutes.

From this stage Instonians played some great rugby. The pack was gaining the upper hand in most exchanges and the backs were running and handling well. A series of penalties in their favour brought an attacking line out 5 metres out. They attacked through phase after phase close in and looked certain to score. But they were then penalised for “not releasing” just a metre from the line as Portadown latched on to the ball. Although Portadown kicked clear their respite did not last long. First, they knocked on and from the scrum were penalised. Instonians mauled again from the 15 metre line out. Another series of charges were driven close to the line and then the ball was moved wide to allow winger Donal Moloney the simplest of run ins. The conversion by Richard McCarthy brought the score to 5-19 with half an hour gone.

When Instonians were penalised for a high tackle Portadown were able to kick for a 5 metre attacking line out, which they then wasted by giving up a free kick for “closing the gap”. Instonians then tried some adventurous rugby, which some might say was foolhardy, by tapping and trying to run the ball wide just metres from their line. Almost immediately they turned the ball over at the breakdown and did well to force the ball carrier into touch as Portadown counter attacked. They then lost this line out on their own 22 but poor Portadown handling again gave them a scrum and then another penalty from it. It was clear that Portadown were finding it difficult to deal with the very powerful Instonians scrummaging. This signalled another period on Instonians dominance. John Andress made a very strong break up the middle after Instonians won clean line out ball. Then followed another period of driving inside the home side’s 22. It came to nothing when the ball was turned over at the breakdown to allow Portadown to kick clear. Nonetheless, Instonians were looking in control when the half-time whistle sounded.

Any thoughts that Instonians were going to run away with the game after the restart were quickly dispelled. Instonians dealt with the restart kick well enough but were stripped of the ball as they drove into contact. From the turnover Portadown simply moved the ball wide and were able to outflank the cover and sprint in for a converted try under the posts. The second half was barely a minute old and the home side were back in the game at 12-19. This signalled a “wake up” for Instonians. Portadown knocked on from the restart. Instonians kicked in behind after the scrum 30 metres out. This almost yielded another try for centre Matt Kilpatrick but he knocked on just short of the line as he attempted to gather the ball. The dominant Instonians scrum again caused havoc as the Portadown number 8 tried to pick up and drive clear. He lost the ball over the line and Lewis McNamara pounced to claim the touchdown. The conversion proved too difficult from wide out but Instonians were now 12-24 up seven minutes into the second period.

From here they never really looked back, although they lost player coach John Andress soon after to a leg knock they still retained their forward dominance. When Portadown did have the ball they made far too many handling errors to really trouble the score board. The conditions were also deteriorating with persistent rain. Portadown did mount a number of skirmishes and looked dangerous as they tried to run any ball that came their way. But ultimately handling let them down again. Scrum half Paul Marshall was also probing round the fringes as well as putting in some astute kicks which the home side found difficult to deal with. Another penalty yielded an attacking line out 5 metres out. Pressure on their line forced Portadown to infringe under their posts. This time, having already notched up the bonus point for four tries, Instonians took the easy penalty shot to bring them to 12 -27 on 70 minutes.
Instonians had one last flourish. With less than 5 minutes left they won a line out 40 metres out. A couple of phases later the ball came to substitute fullback Colm Cregan who set off on a great run which saw him weave his way almost to the line. A final pass sent winger Donal Moloney scampering in for his second try. Richard McCarthy landed an excellent conversion to bring the final score to 12 -34.

The last couple of minutes were not without drama and proved costly to Instonians. Flanker Massimo Kiri Kiri was tackled in the air at the restart. The referee promptly awarded a penalty which was quickly reversed when Massimo retaliated and allegedly pulled the offender’s hair. He was shown a red card for his endeavours and Instonians had to see out the last minutes with 14 men.

Overall it had been a strong performance with a dominant pack and some great running by the backs. The poor weather, particularly in the second period, led to some handling errors and other mistakes but Instonians will be pleased with an important away win.

Team list:

Instonians:15. Wayne Kelly, 14. Ross O’Donnell, 13. Matt Kilpatrick, 12. David Scott (Captain), 11. Donal Moloney, 10. Richard McCarthy, 9. Paul Marshall, 8. Lewis McNamara, 7. Cameron Barr, 6. Massimo Kiri Kiri, 5. Tom Matthews, 4. John Andress, 3. Alan Whitten, 2. Conor Gallagher, . Dennis Shuttleworh, 16. Sean Shuttleworth, 17. Colm Cregan.

 

Photos:

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipMxfAOc-OQXV0KdFPw2qRLuglJDNjnkOcc8FX-mA5jN6F7_LGZlHe5HbyCug84wBg?key=UmM1ZEhiclUxM3ZMSzM0QnBGd0xiVmJ5LWZzcmln

 

Videos:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/instoniansrfc/posts/?ref=page_internal

 

Next Match   - Sat 16th Feb

2.30pm

1stXV home to Grosvenor 1stXV in the League

To book your spaces at the 1st XV pre-match lunch contact:

Ken Bamford

0783 466 5095

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Top three teams very close.

4,5 or 6 games left.

Each one a Cup Final!!

Need strong vocal support.

POS

TEAM

P

W

D

L

PTS

1

Instonians

14

12

0

1

60

2

Ballyclare

13

11

0

2

57

3

Dromore

12

11

0

1

50

4

Grosvenor

13

8

0

4

38

 

Rest of the season

Date

1st XV

2nd XV

3rd XV

16th Feb

L - Grosvenor (H)

L - Dromore 2 (A)

 

23rd Feb

McCrea Cup Quarter Final - Grosvenor (H)

L - Omagh 3 (A)

 

2nd Mar

L - Ballyclare (A)

 

Forster Plate Semi-final – Carrickfergus 3 (A)

9th Mar

L - Carrickfergus (H)

 

L - Limavady 2 (A)

16th Mar

McCrea Cup Semi Final

 

L - Donegal Town (A)

23rd Mar

L - Cooke (A)

 

L - Cooke 2 (H)

30th Mar

RR 1

L - Armagh 3 (H)

L - Ballyclare 3 (A)

2nd Apr (Tues)

McCrea Cup Final

   

6th Apr

RR 2

 

Forster Plate Final

13th Apr

RR 3

   

20th Apr

Easter

Easter

Easter

22nd Apr (Mon)

Easter Mon Instonians U20s Tournament

Easter Mon Instonians U20s Tournament

Easter Mon Instonians U20s Tournament

27th Apr

RR PO

   

To be re-arranged

 

L- Malone 3 (A) - Thurs 8th at 7.30pm - No ref

 

To be re-arranged

 

L - Carrickfergus 2 (19.30) (A) Match Abandoned due to player injury.

 

To be re-arranged

 

L - Ballymoney 2 (A) - Postponed due to frozen pitches