Old Wesley kicked off their Ulster Bank League season on a wet but mild day at Donnybrook. Indeed had the kick been scheduled for earlier the match would have been in doubt due to surface water.
Wesley had the better of the early exchanges in particular with a fine attack by Barry McLoughlin, however a knock on ended the opportunity. After 6 minutes the home team was awarded a penalty which McLoughlin kicked perfectly to take the first points. The first scrum of the match saw the visitors display their strongest facet of play. A heal against the head let to a fine back movement which saw Crescent outstretch the Wesley defence to score in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed. For the rest of the first half the visitors gave the Wesley scrum a torrid time.
Although the Wesley scrum was under pressure the line outs functioned well with Ian McGann to the fore. However the visitors’ defence stood solid. Crescent extended their lead with a penalty in front of the posts on 25 minutes and moments later McLoughlin balanced matters with similar penalty. Although Crescent had their full back yellow carded 5 minutes before the break Wesley could not capitalise and it was the Limerick side who finished the half on top with a drop goal to lead 11-6 at half time.
The second half saw a slightly improved Wesley side, McLoughlin was just wide on a long range penalty and there were some promising back line movements with Alan Thompson making good inroads. 13 minutes into the second half Wesley were awarded a penalty in the visitors 22 and opted to go for touch. From the ensuing lineout good pack work helped influential prop Tristan Goodbody drive over for a try. The conversion was missed and the sides were level at 11 all. Despite the rejuvenated home team efforts Crescent again took the lead with a penalty goal following an Old Wesley scrum infringement.
With 15 minutes to go Crescent’s influential prop Eugene McGovern was forced to retire injured leading to non contested scrums, a situation that worked in Old Wesley’s favour. Wesley found themselves with a line out deep in the opposition 22 but the throw was deemed crooked by the referee. Then with 5 minutes of normal time remaining McLoughlin again stepped up and slotted an easy penalty kick to draw the sides level again.
As full time approached both sides were eager for a win. Substitute outhalf Dan van Zyl put in a fine run to bring play into the opposition 22 and hopes were high for a home team victory. However the score remained unchanged and the match ended a draw, 14 all.
Old Wesley Scorers :- Tristan Goodbody try, Barry McLoughlan 3 Pen
Old Wesley:- Barry McLoughlan, Steven Walsh, Alan Thompson, Steven Harvey, Ross Johnson, Rory Stynes, Izak Muller, Tristan Goodbody (capt), Gavin Telford, David Henshaw , Philip Hosie, Ian McGann, John Carroll, David Whately, Richard Murphy. Replacements:- Simon Goldsmith, David O’Connor, Ivan Campbell, Dan van Zyl, Colm Brady.