3rd XV Lose Narrowly on the Road to Limavady 2nd XV

 

No rest for the 3rd XV on Saturday as they returned to league action with a tricky away trip to face Limavady 2nd XV for the return fixture of the match which Instonians narrowly won in September.

The conditions on Saturday were once again challenging with strong gusting winds and intermittent snow and rain showers.

Instonians kicked off with the advantage of the wind, however it was Limavady who started more brightly. Recognising that they faced a stiff breeze the home team controlled possession and kept the ball in hand working through their phases, however, Instonians were more than capable of matching these attacks with some strong defence around the fringes and in midfield.

This strong defence led to several turnovers, which allowed the visitors to clear their lines pushing the ball in behind the retreating Limavady defenders. To their credit Limavady were able to counter attack from deep and managed to work their way back up field into Instonians territory.

The deadlock was soon broken towards the end of the first quarter of the match and against the run of play. Following a turnover ball, Instonians kicked long, once again pushing the ball behind the Limavady back three. While the home team attempted to run the ball out of defence the Instonians defence made their tackles and turned the ball over and imediatley attacked the Limavady line where they were eventually held up just short. From the resulting Instonians scrum a neat move from the backs saw Sam Fryers crash through the midfield defence to score the first try of the match. With the conversion missed Instonians took the lead 0-5.

The next period of the match was fairly evenly contested, with neither team able to maintain momentum or retain possession for any significant period of time. However it was Limavady who would score next. Following some poor rucking by Instonians on their twenty two meter line, the ball was left unsecured at the base of the ruck. Limavady were first to react, and took advantage by picking up for the simple run-in to score between the posts. The successful conversion brought Limavady back into the match leaving the score at half time 7-5

Half Time 7-5

Instonians started the second half strongly coming straight back into the game when they scored their second try of the match. From a counter attack Jerome Hannan made good ground, and with the pack able recycle well, the ball was moved wide through several pairs of hands to Omar Bouazza, who made good ground before being held up five meters short of the line. Once again from the resulting scrum Sam Fryers breached the Limavady defence to score his and the visitors second try of the match. With the conversion missed once more, Instonians extended their lead to 7-10.

Now playing with the wind advantage, Limavady sensibly played the territorial game, kicking long and forcing Instonians to retreat and attempt to play the ball out of defence. The pressure eventually told and a turn over ball led to Limavady’s second converted try of the match, which resulted in them regaining the lead 14-10.

The home team now had the momentum and continued to pressurise Instonians who battled to retain possession playing into the strong wind.

Once again the pressure told and from a clean break from a lineout, Limavady scored their third try of the match which was again converted, to extend the home team’s lead to 21-10.

The game now moved into the final quarter of the match, and given the pressure being applied by the home team added to the poor weather conditions, it might have been expected that Instonians would accept defeat and take their foot off the gas. This was not the case however, as following another long kick from the home team, Instonians re-gathered the ball setting up a great counter attack with both forwards and backs combining, to create space on the left flank. Firstly Darryl Smith carried well, feeding Omar Bouazza who in turn made good ground before timing his pass perfectly to Alex Caldwell who raced in from the twenty two meter line to score his second try in only his second outing for the 3’s. Again the conversion was missed leaving the score 21-15.

From the restart an infringement by Instonians at a ruck gave Limavady the opportunity to extend their lead when they opted to kick for posts. With the kick successful the home team extended their lead to 24-15.

Having absorbed the pressure Instonians began to show signs of tiring, and unsurprisingly the home team grabbed their fourth unconverted try of the match which further extended their lead to 29-15 moving into the final minutes of the match.

Recognising that one more converted try would lead to a four try bonus point along with a losing bonus point, the squad picked themselves up for one final push.  

Regaining possession from the kick off, the pack led the charge forcing Limavady onto the back foot. Going through numerous phases, the forwards and backs combined well, and showed great composure to retain possession as they attempted to breach the home team’s defence. Eventually the pressure told as Finlay Bodel (to his brothers delight), used all of his bulk and strength to burrow his way over the line to score the important fourth try. The all-important conversion was successfully slotted by Joe Murphy to leave the final score 29-22.

Final Score 29-22

This fixture was always going to be a tricky encounter on the road, especially given this was an international weekend, and credit must go to all of the players who made the journey to Limavady.

The squad also deserve great credit for Saturday’s performance, and for the way they continued to play for the full eighty minutes. This was another game where they showed great commitment and togetherness, and a never say die attitude.

Loosing is never easy to take, however, given the circumstances on Saturday, coming away with two points provided some consolation. These points may well be important when the final league positions are decided at the end of the season.

Thank you to Limavady for the match on Saturday. On the balance of play they probably deserved their victory, and we wish them well for the remainder of the season.

Without referees our matches would not take place and Saturday’s Referee deserves credit for her performance on Saturday and how she managed the game in what was at times quite a hostile environment, we wish her well for her future refereeing career.

Next up the 3’s have another road trip away to Donegal in the league.

Rickety!

Squad 1-18: Omar Bouazza, Dan Lindsey ,Richard Fannin, Ryan Hickland, Darryl Smith, Nathanial Johnston, Joe Fryers, James Poland, Finlay Bodel, Ashley Black, Jordane Emanuel, Dean Howes, Sam Fryers, Jerome Hannan, Lewis Bodel, Joe Murphy, Alex Caldwell, Kevin McKee.