CIYMS 13 v Portadown 10 24/11/2012

CIYMS 13 v Portadown 10 24/11/2012



CIYMS welcomed league leaders Portadown to Belmont on Saturday for a highly anticipated Kukri Qualifying League 1 contest.

Portadown had been in a rich vein of form in the run-up to this game, having won all seven of their previous league games. More impressive was that each of those seven wins had been achieved with a try-scoring bonus point for scoring four tries or more. CIYMS on the other hand had shown only glimpses of their top form to date, most recently in securing an away win last week at Ballymoney.

In was one of the fastest starts that will be seen in Ulster rugby this season when CI number 9 Michael Wilson added to his try tally almost immediately off the kick off. Wilson charged down the attempted box kick of his opposite number before gathering and scampering in at the corner. The conversion was missed by O’Hara to leave the score at 5-0 to CI.

Portadown, somewhat riled by the instant five point deficit, then pressured the CI defence with a series of scrums and pick up moves in the CI 22. It was during this period, that CI hooker Matt Brown was sent to the sin-bin following one too many team infringements at the ruck. Bizarrely, Portadown turned down a number of relatively kickable penalty chances opting to go for the corner instead. It didn’t pay off, with handling errors letting the Mid-Ulstermen down on each occasion. CI remained steadfast in the face of the one dimensional pick and drive game offered by Portadown to lead 5-0 at the break.

HALF TIME: CI 5 – 0 Portadown

The second half started with Portadown repeating their tactic of kicking to the corner to set up a lineout and maul. A pattern of forward orientated pressure was sustained in a 15 minutes period that saw CI clear their lines on a number of occasions.

CI back-row McConkey was the second player to be shown yellow and effective work from the resulting penalty and 5 metre lineout saw the Portadown second-row carried over from a wheeling maul. The conversion was added to make the score 7-5 to Portadown.

CI responded and out-half O’Hara made up for an easier penalty miss earlier in the second half to land a long-range effort that edged CI back into a 8-7 lead.

Portadown then resumed their relentless pick and drive tactics modelled on Clogher Valley’s success last year. It was during one of this phases that a tackle and rip by CI Captain Woods on Portadown skipper Lamb saw the loose ball picked up by his CI front-row partner Stuart Ferguson. Ferguson sold a fine dummy to the Portadown out-half before sending a pass out to left-winger Rory Barton who raced in for the score from just inside half-way. The conversion was again missed to leave the score at 13-7.

Portadown responded again with both sets of forwards beginning to tire due to the physical nature of the contest. A CI infringement saw Portadown edge closer with a converted penalty to make the score 13-10 going into the closing stages.

Portadown now sensed blood as they looked to apply pressure for a winning score. They again turned down the option to kick a long range penalty and kicked to the corner. The CI defence rallied once more against the maul and the pack were delighted with their work when the final whistle was sounded.

FINAL SCORE:             CI: 13             Portadown: 10

CI will be delighted with their commitment levels in what was a physical game throughout the 80 minutes. Portadown will rue the loss of their unbeaten record but will no doubt remain confident for the return fixture.

CI now look to make best use of their game in hand next Saturday against Donaghadee.