All Ireland League – Old Crescent 15 : Old Wesley 25
Old Wesley followed up on their last minute heroics against Galwegians a fortnight ago with another late victory against a strong Old Crescent side at Rosbrien. The win moves them on to 15 points from five outings and up to 7th place in the Division 2A table of the Ulster Bank League.
Playing against the wind and hill in cold, crisp conditions, Old Wesley started the first half brightly and created a couple of early penalty chances but Barry McLaughlin’s efforts drifted narrowly wide. With their set scrum under pressure Old Wesley were finding the agile and physical Crescent pack a handful and found themselves behind to an unconverted try on 25 minutes following a series of scrums and rucks close to their line. Stung into action the visitors ensured that this advantage was short lived. Wing forward Ben Horan crossed the Crescent line only to have the ball dislodged by a last ditch tackle, but not to be denied he soon made amends with an unconverted touchdown following good work by Large and McLaughlin. With the Old Wesley back row becoming increasingly influential, an improving scrum, second row Ivan Pirrie producing a steady supply of line out ball, and centre David Potterton tackling every opponent in sight, the visitors finished the half strongly with a late penalty goal and a half time one point lead. However, the home supporters must have rued several botched try scoring opportunities which could have given the interval scoreline a different complexion.
Playing with the elements in the second period, Old Wesley soon found themselves behind as Crescent secured a second try through their powerful pack and then extended the lead to 15 – 8. They held this lead until the final quarter when the Old Wesley pack took control against tiring opponents and their three quarter line exploited gaps in the home defence. Wing Steven Harvey came close on a couple of occasions before Barry McLaughlin reduced the deficit with a well struck penalty.
Sensing their opportunity Old Wesley upped the pressure on the Crescent rearguard, and captain Alan Large eventually pounced for an unconverted try following a ruck close to the line to give his team a deserved 18 – 15 lead. Then with the Old Wesley supporters seeking the final whistle Large split the home cover for an excellent individualist try close to the posts. Barry McLaughlin’s conversion was the final act to a hard, physical and exciting game with Old Wesley victors by 25 – 15, and Crescent left empty handed.
As Old Wesley continue to improve with the progress of the league, they can look forward to hosting high flying Cashel in their next league outing.
Old Wesley:- Rory Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, Kieran Hurrell, David Potterton, Stephen Harvey, Alan Large (Captain), Ian Cassidy, Kenny Knaggs, Jamie Boyle, David Henshaw, Iain McGann, Ivan Pirrie, Steven Boyle, Ben Horan, Darren Horan,
Old Wesley scorers:- Alan Large (2 tries), Ben Horan (try), Barry McLaughlin (2 pens, 2 cons.)