Wesley win Battle of Clontarf
Metro League 9 – Old Wesley 21 Clontarf 12
In the much anticipated top of the table clash, Old Wesley crossed the Liffey to take on the hotly tipped Clontarf. The team arrived on the Northside at 2pm in what promised to be a ferocious clash as the Wyvern took on the Bull. Upon arriving at Clontarf it became obvious that Clontarf prized mass over class in the player department but Wes knew well enough that this Tarf team had a wealth of experience, making for a salivating encounter.
The first half got off to a crunching start, with Clontarf aiming to give the Old Wesley young guns a crushing Northside welcome, but Wes responded in a solid Southside manner, with both the forwards and backs putting in big hits. Clontarf’s heavy and skilled pack put pressure on the Wesley try line but Wesley were not going to be dragged into a game of forwards like Clontarf wanted. With the Wes pack rucking solidly to allow debutant scrumhalf Ollie Gallagher, transferring for an undisclosed fee from Letterkenny RFC, to feed David Priestman and the hungry backs. And the first half really was a story of backs to the future, with Priesty breaking through the Clontarf defence like to get the first try. He converted all tries on the day, further adding to Tarf’s woes in the first half. Not to be outdone, Wesley’s forwards notched a try through the effort of Clayton Vanelli. Aaron McDonnell at 15 ran with the ball like he’d knicked it from Elverys, with fine support play from James, Jim Jam, and Loaf, who decided to donate a few gallons of blood on the day. He made substantial line breaks with strong running from Rob at 13 who scared off the opposition with the smell of his socks, which hadn’t been washed since he borrowed them off Sully last week. Eric Parfrey decided that the backs were having too much champagne rugby and decided to bull through for the third try in the corner. Graham Richmond, concerned that all 5’6 of new scrumhalf Ollie might get lost under a ruck, came on towards the end of the first half, and the flying Jim Jam was replaced by Oilibh (need to check spelling), whilst Bursey came on for young Josh who claimed to be feeling sick. Doctors say he’s been diagnosed with Copperfaced Jacks. John Love also came on in the second half, as the pack felt the blows from a big Tarf squad.
The second half was in honour of 100 years since the Somme, with Clontarf drawing Wesley in to a game of trench warfare. Priesty was denied first blood meters from the try line in the first few minutes, and Clontarf began to apply pressure on Wesley for the rest of the half. Clontarf managed to add 5 points to their first half 7, but missed the chance to gain a further 3 and a losing bonus point, going for the corner but denied by the heroics of Wesley’s pack, notably Sam and Sully. Asa Buttle was epic around the fringes, stopping many Tarf picks, and the pack worked hard with Iain Pollock putting in a good day’s work in the scrum. This was a tense encounter which saw some confrontation with threats of “I’ll have you later”, but Bursey replied with a stern “I say, that’s most ungentlemanly”. Full time saw Wesley hold off repeated Clontarf bombardments for a 21-12 win to top the table, and a well deserved rehydration warm down was welcomed in the Clontarf bar by the table toppers.