A record haul of 30 points for winger Barry McLaughlin helped Old Wesley record a 45 – 10 bonus point win over Midleton at Donnybrook. The result leaves the Donnybrook side in 5thplace in Division 2A of the Ulster Bank League on 9 points after three outings and 5 points behind the leaders DLSP.
In ideal conditions Midleton kicked off into a slight breeze and the home side immediately showed their intent by flashing the ball along their backline to set McLaughlin free only to be stopped short by the covering defence. The opening quarter hour produced some good expansive back play from both sides, entertaining the small crowd. Old Wesley edged ahead on 17 minutes when winger Ross Johnson breached the visitors defence to touch down for an unconverted try. With the Old Wesley pack producing good quick ball from both the set piece and loose exchanges the three quarter line flourished, ably orchestrated by veteran fly half Dan van Zyl who had an excellent game throughout. With full back Rory Stynes and centre Steven Harvey running great lines the home side frequently breached the Midleton defence. The sides exchanged penalty goals before, on the half hour, Stynes finished off a slick move started by van Zyl and involving a line break by Harvey. McLaughlin converted. Despite several further forays deep into the visitors territory the Midleton defence held firm to leave the interval score at 15 – 3 in Old Wesley’s favour.
Three early penalties by McLaughlin stretched the lead to 24 – 3 within 10 minutes of the restart. With a steady scrum built on a solid front row platform of Tristan Goodbody, Matt Crockett and Simon Goldsmith, and a gradually improving line out in which second row Iain McGann and No 8 Richard Murphy were prominent, Old Wesley increased the pressure on the visitors in search of the bonus point. It was somewhat against the run of play, and facilitated by a lapse of concentration in the home defence, that Midleton fought their way back into the match with a converted try entering the final quarter. However, any doubts induced in the home support were soon dissipated as McLaughlin twice outpaced the Midleton defence for converted trys and van Zyl darted over close to the posts. McLaughlin again converted with the final act of an entertaining game.
Next up for Old Wesley is an away trip to Instonians.
Old Wesley scorers:- Barry McLaughlin (2 trys, 4 pens, 4 cons), Ross Johnson (try), Rory Stynes (try), Dan van Zyl (try).
Old Wesley:- Rory Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, Steven Harvey, Nigel Kinlan, Ross Johnson, Dan van Zyl, Izak Muller, Tristan Goodbody, Matt Crockett, Simon Goldsmith, Philip Hosie, Iain McGann, David Whately, Conor Boyd, Richard Murphy. Replacements:- Ivan Campbell, Gavin Telford, John Carroll, Neil Beirne, Ian Cassidy.