All Ireland League – Old Wesley 33 Belfast Harlequins 8
Old Wesley made it three bonus point wins out of three beating Belfast Harlequins 33-8 in the All Ireland League.
Harlequins had the first scoring opportunity with a penalty inside the Old Wesley 22. Surprising they opted to kick to touch but the ensuing line out came to nought. Wesley responded with strong pressure and were awarded a similar penalty. However they had no hesitation in opting for a kick at goal which Barry McLaughlin converted with ease. McLaughlin struck again from 40 meters out making it 6 nil to the home side. Wesley continued to exert pressure forcing the visitors to concede penalties. The dam eventually burst when scrum half Dave O’Leary snuck over for the first try of the game. McLaughlin again converted from out wide. The men from the North eventually got off the mark after 32 minutes with a penalty kick but a minute later McLaughlin cancelled out their effort with a penalty kick to give Wesley a comfortable 16-3 lead at half time
Early in the second half Harlequins again kicked down the line from a penalty but once more they could not capitalise on the score board. Both teams were now starting to run the ball and both had scoring opportunities. Harlequins looked to be in from a break inside the Wesley 22 but a solid tackle by O’Leary saved the day. A Harlequins line out near the half way was overthrown and Alan Large kicked through on the full. He followed up with some neat soccer skills to touch down for a try. Following a series of penalties Harlequins eventually crossed for a try by Taggart. The conversion was missed leaving the score 23-8 to Wesley. With the clock approaching 70 minutes and Old Wesley leading by 3 scores the result was in no doubt, however a bonus point seemed a big ask. However from a line out Wesley brought play into the opposition 22 and unlikely winger Iain McGann found himself at the end of a back line move. He showed great pace to touch down in the corner. Now within touching distance of the 4th try Wesley started throwing the ball around and the tactic paid off when Stephen Boyle collected a pass inside the opposition 22 to gallop over untouched in the last play of the game.
Another fine result for Old Wesley which sees them maintain position 1 in AIL Division 1B
Old Wesley team: Rory Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, Billy Ngawini, Ger Finucane, Eoin Stynes, Alan Large [Capt], Dave O’Leary, Martin Gately, Craig Telford, Oltian Dervishi, Richie Morrow, Iain McGann, Josh HInde, Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley. Subs: Gavin Telford, David Henshaw, Michael Triggs, Garry O’Brien, James Nolan
Old Wesley scorers: Dave O’Leary, try; Alan Large, try; Iain McGann, try; Stephen Boyle, try; Barry McLaughlin, 2 cons, 3 pens.