Old Wesley back on winning trail with bonus point win over Buccs
All Ireland League – Old Wesley 29 Buccaneers 13
Old Wesley kept their league title hopes well and truly alive with a well deserved bonus point win over Buccaneers at Donnybrook.
Played in perfect weather conditions Old Wesley took charge right from the word go. After just one and half minutes, and before the opposition had touched the ball Rory Stynes crossed for a try after a break by Josh Miller and strong carries by James O’Donovan and Tommy O’Callaghan. Uncharacteristically Stynes missed the relatively straightforward conversion. 5 minutes later O’Donovan was on hand with another fine break, but the pass to Charlie O’Regan did not go to hand. Buccs eventually gained some territory and were awarded a penalty for a high tackle, which out-half Michael Hanley slotted with ease. From the kick off Wesley were back on the attack with Mark Rowley and then O’Regan getting to within inches of the goal line. But it was Buccs who were next on the scoreboard with another Hanley penalty kick to take a one point lead. Indeed they were then nearly in for a try in the corner only to be denied by a knock on.
A Wesley penalty kicked down the line looked like it might lead to a try, but the visitors turned over possession escaping the attack. As half time approached Wesley were again applying the pressure with their pack starting to dominate in the set piece. Following a forward drive Craig Telford grounded for what players and spectators alike thought was a try, however the referee did not agree. But from the ensuing 5 metre scrum the home side made good when Mark Rowley made one of his trade mark breaks from the back of the scrum to score under the posts. This time Stynes made no mistake with the conversion. Then just on the stroke of half time Stynes was on the score board again with a well engineered try after a great carry and pass by David Poff, leaving the score at half time 19-6
The second half started at a more even pace with most of the play taking place between both 22s. But after 14 minutes, and following sustained pressure and some neat handling, Wesley were testing the opposition defence to its limits. Eventually it proved too much and Paul Harte crossed with relative ease to claim the bonus point try. But Wesley were dealt a blow when Paul Derham was shown a yellow card for illegal play and this sparked a minor purple patch for the visitors. Soon after they had a promising line out on the Wesley 5 metre line, however it came to nothing when the Wesley pack reclaimed possession and kicked down field. Then out of nothing and from midfield, scrum half Colm Reilly found a chink the Old Wesley armour and sprinted half the length of the pitch to score under the posts. With the conversion it was 26-13 and some of the pessimistic home supporters felt a hint of worry.
Buccs continued to attack but the Wesley defence proved well able for it. Then with 5 minutes to go the visitors conceded a penalty for a high tackle. Josh Miller stepped up and kicked the goal and now back to a 3 score lead the result was no longer in doubt. Shortly after the referee blew for full time.
The result keeps Old Wesley in pole position in the league marginally ahead of Ballynahinch, but with 2 matches to go this competition will go down to the wire.
OLD WESLEY SCORERS – Rory Stynes, 2 tries, 3 cons; Mark Rowley, try; Paul Harte try; Josh Miller, pen.
TEAM – Rory Stynes, Tommy O’Callaghan, James O’Donovan, Alan Gaughan, Paul Harte (captain), Josh Miller, Charlie O’Regan, Harry Noonan., Ben Burns, Cronan Gleeson, Iain McGann, JJ O’Dea, Conor Barry, Stephen Boyle, Paul Derham. REPLACEMENTS Craig Telford, Ciaran McHugh, Mark Rowley, David Poff, Lachlan Anderson.