JP Fanagan Premiership 2. 30th January 2018.
Old Belvedere 13, Old Wesley 18.
The boys returned to winning ways in great style in Anglesea Road on Tuesday night. Having taken Belvo at home earlier in the season, Wesley were aiming to do the double but were up against it with only 21 fit players to pick from. Very astute tactical play and a strong set-piece kept Belvo pinned in their own half and on 16 minutes, Sean Balance slotted over a penalty. Belvo cranked up the physicality from the restart and on 22 minutes, the pressure told and Philip Dean was binned for a penalty on the line, with Belvo opting for 3 points. In the very next attack, Bill Corrigan was binned for what the referee deemed a high tackle. If anything, this spurred the Wesley men on to fight harder, and in an incredible 5 minutes of 13-man rugby, Darragh Forster powered over for a super try with Balance adding the conversion. With half time approaching, our defence was stretched to breaking point, and Belvo went over for an unconverted try. At that point, most teams would run the clock down to the break but not this lot… Showing great determination and control, the pack moved the ball a full 40 metres and releasing the backs at the perfect moment, Forster doubled his try tally with a brilliant score. Half Time Old Belvedere 8, Old Wesley 15.
The coaches made great use of the bench throughout, but none more so than in the early part of the second half. The scrum did incredibly well against a muscular Belvo unit, and with a bit more patience, Wesley could have converted a couple of chances. Bringing on a fresh front row, Belvo gradually got the physical upper hand. After an unfortunate lapse in concentration on 71 minutes, a clearance kick was fumbled near our 22. From the resulting scrum and a series of line breaks, Wesley failed to exit and Belvo scored an unconverted try. 15-13 to Wes but surely fatigue would take its toll? That’s when we saw the real character in this side, with the boys grinding out the hard yards and frustrating Belvo at every turn. On 75 minutes, the opposition cracked, coughing up a penalty on their 10-metre line. Balance didn’t hesitate, taking on the responsibility for a crack at the posts. His brilliant kick sailed high over the crossbar, leaving the score 18-13. The home team had no choice but to go for a try in front of their sizeable home support. Over the next 5 pulsating minutes however, every one of the Wesley lads tackled themselves to a standstill, displaying immense control and skill to seal a memorable victory.
Full Time Old Belvedere 13 – Old Wesley 18.
Old Wesley have now regained 2nd place in the league. The team travel to Greystones on Friday night 9th February with a big score to settle.
Squad: Andrew Irwin, Jordan Laybourne, Sam Kenny, Dave Motyer, Lloyd Stephens, Stuart Dudley, Stephen Triggs, Luke Corish, Shane O’Hanrahan, Sean Balance, Darragh Forster, Bill Corrigan, Daniel Gilmer, Doug Burns, Philip Dean, Andrew Egan, OJ Onolomemem, Josh Reid, Alastair Quirke, Scott Levie, Mark Braithwaite. Coaches: Ronan O’Donovan, Ian Dumbleton