CI Close Out Season with Dromore Double
Photo courtesy of Picturskew Photography
CI 1st XV closed out their season at a sunny Belmont with a 47-22 win over visitors Dromore.
CI started brightly in a similar vein to last week’s game and the pack added a push over try to start a dominant day in the set-piece.
CI surged to a 21-0 lead before Dromore added a penalty near half-time.
Given the Dromore comeback a week before, CI were keen to ensure the same pattern did not repeat.
Second half highlights included a superb solo effort by CI centre Andy Hodgen and a first career try for player-coach Gareth Fry courtesy of a failed header by the last defender.
Dromore did battle back to claim a try bonus point but CI ran out convincing winners on the firm surface with 7 tries. The result showed what the team is capable of for next season and what might have been this year.
The report from last weeks away fixture can be found below….
CI 1st XV traveled to Dromore with little more to play for than the collective determination to finish the last few games of the season with victories.
The Belmont side started in that determined fashion with strong carries by the pack into the 22. With Dromore caught on the back foot, a quick 5m tap from Wilson led to the honorable Alan Whitley going over from short range.
Continued CI pressure led to a couple of successful penalty kicks in quick succession from Sam Baker, the second just before he was forced to leave the field with a hand injury. With Baker retired, CI chose to kick to the corner from a subsequent penalty, resulting in Mark Scott slipping off an attacking maul to barrel over for the try.
Dromore forays into CI territory yielded only a couple of penalties in response, to leave the halftime score at 18-6, frustrating the vocal home support.
Dromore scored first in the second half after CI had put themselves under pressure through needless penalties.
There were good breaks from Mark Scott and Jason Gilliland. One such break from Scott saw quick ball released to Mark McConkey, then to Josh Vise, who stepped inside the drifting defender to restore the CI lead.
The lead was to prove just enough in the later stages as CI were guilty of allowing Dromore back into the game again through costly turnovers and tiring defence. Missed tackles allowed the home side to break on the left wing to score a simple overlap and then to pressure the CI line again in the closing moments.
Dromore did manage to cross again at the death, but the resulting conversion drifted well wide to give CI a narrow 25-24 victory.
All in all an entertaining game for the neutral that could have gone either way. CI will claim a deserved win for the first half performance albeit a narrow one.
Expect another close and physical encounter as Dromore are the visitors to Belmont next week for the last game of the season. Both sides will reflect on periods of the game that they will look to improve but it promises to be another good one for the neutral.