1st XV have bonus point win at home to Carrickfergus 1st XV – all on the last match!!

Instonians still in hunt for league title after tough bonus point win against Carrickfergus
Instonians 33- Carrickfergus 24
Date: 2-30 pm Saturday, 9 March 2019
Venue: Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast
Fixture: Ulster Rugby Championship Division 1
Conditions: Strong wind from the west but mainly bright and cold.

 

Instonians retain their slender 3 point lead as they go into the final league fixture against Cooke on 23 March.

But crucially, second placed Ballyclare, have a game in hand and if they win their remaining two fixtures, with at

least one bonus point, will take the Championship title. Dromore still have a mathematical chance of taking the

title should Instonians and Ballyclare both lose their remaining fixtures. Whatever way it looks like it will all go

down to the wire on 23 March.

 

Instonians were still without their injured number 8 James Martin which meant that player coach John Andress

had to start in the middle of the back row. Tom Matthews came in to partner Sean Shuttleworth in the second row

and Wayne Kelly was back in the centre alongside captain David Scott. Matt Kilpatrick is still not quite ready to

test his injured hamstring. Otherwise the starting team was along familiar lines, with David McGovern and Erin

Wagner on the bench.

 

Instonians kicked off with a very strong wind at their backs. As expected, they soon took advantage of the wind

and enjoyed the early territory. They had the first chance to score when winger Donal Maloney fielded a Coleraine

clearance and sprinted down the left wing. Coleraine infringed and Instonians took a quick tap which brought them

reward with a series of thrusts close to the goal line. The opportunity was lost when the ball was knocked on just

short of the line to allow Carrick to clear from the resulting scrum.

 

They did well to hold the ball and take it right up to half way but then were penalised for going off their feet.

Instonians mauled from the line out and then drove deep into the Carrick 22. The ball was moved wide to winger

Ross O’Donnell, who drew the cover and then delivered a great scoring pass to full back Colm Creggan on the

outside. He raced clear to touch down in the corner. Out half Richard McCarthy produced an excellent kick to put

Instonians 7-0 up with 10 minutes on the clock.

 

Instonians fielded the restart and used the wind advantage to kick back. They forced a 22 drop out. After fielding

this they moved the ball wide again but turned over in contact. Again, Carrick did very well to hold possession

and in a series of thrusts from their pack moved the ball to halfway only to be penalised for holding on after a

completed tackle. Instonians used the ball from the line out well and drove time and time again at the Carrick

line. Eventually it was flanker Massimo Kiri Kiri who had the power to crash over at the posts for his side’s second

try. Richard McCarthy converted to bring the score to 14-0 as we moved into the second quarter.

 

The Instonian scrum was becoming more dominant. A penalty from that source allowed Instonians the chance to

move the ball wide and give Colm Creggan the opportunity to race in for his second try in the corner. Another

excellent conversion from Richard McCarthy brought the score to 21-0.

 

It was now Carrick’s turn to show what they could do when they retained the ball. Their big pack made a lot of

ground as they bashed away at the home defence only to turn the ball over close to the line. Instonians kicked

clear but Carrick ran the ball back and set up another series of strong drives. Their efforts were rewarded when

they forced their way over for a try wide out. The conversion was too difficult but Carrick were back in the game

at 21-5, having scored an important try against the wind. There were still 10 minutes of the half remaining.

Instonians continued to use the wind well to kick for territory. Another penalty in their favour and they were back

pounding the Carrick line. A certain score was averted when a Carrick slow runner got in the way of a pass from

Paul Marshall with three Instonian attackers lining up to score. The referee showed a yellow card and Instonians

elected to scrummage 5 metres out. A couple of penalties at the scrum later and the referee ran in under the

posts to award a penalty try and give give Instonians a 28-5 lead. This gave them the bonus point. 

 

Centre David Scott was doing a lot of damage when he had the ball. Not only was he making clean breaks but

he was proving very hard to bring down when tackled. Following one such move it looked like Instonians must

score again. Out half Richard McCarthy put a deft little kick in behind the Carrick cover. Winger Donal Maloney

was on to it in a flash but knocked on as he tried to gather it with the line at his mercy. This ended the first half.

Instonians looked comfortable 28-5 up at the break but it looked like the wind would be a big factor again in the

second period. So it proved.

 

Although Instonians had an early penalty they conspired to lose the resulting line out 30 metres from the Carrick

line. One swing of the boot and they were facing a line out on their own 22. They then lost their own throw in to

allow Carrick to set up a series of drives. A break through the middle almost yielded a try but they held the ball

and started again. The pressure was relentless and it was after another half dozen phases that they burst

through for a try at the posts. The conversion brought the score to 28-12 and we were only 5 minutes in to the

half.

 

Instonians did well to regain the restart. Another break by David Scott brought a penalty on the Carrick 22. This

time Instonians decided to scrum but the attack ended with a line out throw to the away side just inside their 22.

From the line out Carrick kicked deep again to give a line out just outside the Instonian 22. Instonians mauled

from his line out and did very well, in a series of pick and goes, to bring the ball right up to half way. Scrum Half

Paul Marshall saw his chance and burst away on the blindside. He ran clear and outsprinted the cover only to be

brought down by his opposite number right at the posts. The referee ruled “held up” and Instonians had a 5 metre

scrum. Another penalty at the scrum saw them scrummage again. It looked like another penalty try was certain

as Carrick struggled to deal with the pressure. But this time the referee ruled against the home side. He said

that Instonians had slewed the scrum and penalised them. A great opportunity to score against the wind was

lost.

 

It was not long before Carrick were attacking again down in the Instonian 22. They won a line out on half way

and moved the ball wide. The attack ended when they were forced into touch but Instonians again lost their

throw in inside their 22. Carrick mauled strongly and then burst through for another very forceful try in the corner.

The difficult conversion was good and Carrick were very much back in the game at 28-19 as we moved into the

final quarter. 

 

To their credit Instonians “steadied the ship” after that. They mauled well from line outs and then fed to midfield

where David Scott was continuing to do damage. The back row were supporting well, with Cameron Barr making

some very impressive carries which took him through the heart of the Carrick defence. As so often happens at

this stage in a game mistakes were being made by both sides but Carrick’s indiscipline was costing them with

high tackles and handling errors. By this stage hooker Neil Saulters had to retire through injury. Erin Wagner

came on to allow John Andress to move up to the front row. Erin’s fresh legs and strength were apparent as he

made some forceful carries.

 

Instonians gave up a penalty on the Carrick 22 but they then missed touch as they attempted to kick deep.

Colm Creggan ran it back for Wagner to carry strongly and force another opposition infringement. This opportunity

was lost when Instonians went accidentally offside as they attempted to set up a maul. But Carrick’s kicking was

not accurate enough and this allowed the Instonian back three to field and run back and give the pack the chance

to hold the ball and move their way back into opposition territory. Eventually they won a scrum put in just 15

metres inside the Carrick half. Paul Marshall saw his chance with another dart up the blindside which took him

wide of the back row before he fed Colm Creggan who showed both clever footwork and speed to take him

clear for the all important try and his own hat trick. Although the conversion drifted wide Instonians were now

33- 19 up and safe as we moved into the last few minutes. 

 

The last couple of minutes were a “comedy of errors” for the home side. First Paul Marshall attempted to kick

the ball dead to end the match. But, such was the force of the wind, that it caught it and blew the ball back over

his head and towards mid-field. At least four Instonian players attempted to go down and kill the ball. They all

missed it. The ball bounced around and as all scrambled for it the referee ruled that Instonians had gone off-side.

Carrick tapped the penalty and eventually manged to dot the ball down in the corner for a very late try, but one

which gave them their four try bonus point, and to leave the final score 33-24.

 

It had been a very hard and physical game. The conditions played a big part, which meant that the team with

the wind behind them held a big advantage as witnessed by the number of tries scored with the wind. Instonians

will be pleased enough with the bonus point win in a game that could have been a bit of a “banana skin”. They

now look forward the game with Cooke on 23 March in the hope that they will be playing for the league title.

 

Photos:

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOSHiJNOIr__s6J2mX9Hlotf6BONBmGWaDrsEqlzh3g5lhskp3tuhGk8Kk7ONyDyw?key=R09LTnJhY2NVYXYyRGdMNXJQaHhoN2RtZ2NkLW9R

 

Videos:

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




Team list: Instonians: 15. Colm Cregan, 14. Donal Moloney, 13. Wayne Kelly, 12. David Scott ©,

11. Ross O’Donnell, 10. Richard McCarthy, 9. Paul Marshall, 8. John Andress, 7. Cameron Barr,

6. Massimo Kiri Kiri, 5. Sean Shuttleworth, 4. Tom Matthews, 3. Alan Whitten, 2. Neil Saulters,

1. Conor Gallagher, 16. Erin Wagner, 17. David McGovern.

 

Last League Match Sat 23rd March

 

2.30pm

1stXV home to Cooke 1stXV in the League

 

Top three teams very close.

1 or 2 games left.

This one is a Cup Final!!

Need strong vocal support.

 

POS

TEAM

P

W

D

L

PTS

1

Instonians

17

15

1

1

72

2

Ballyclare

16

13

1

2

69

3

Dromore

16

14

0

2

64

 

Rest of the season

 

Date

1st XV

2nd XV

3rd XV

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)

6th Apr

RR 2

 

Forster Plate Final – Ballyclare 3 (Neutral Venue)

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