CIYMS V Portadown Saturday 20th Jan., 2018
CI hosted a rejuvenated Portadown at Belmont in a key game for both teams. CI had won 3 of their last 4 games, only losing narrowly to table topping Ballyclare, with Portadown winning 2 tough fixtures.. back to back.
A cold day but dry with bright sunshine down the pitch.
CI kicked off into the sun.
The first 15 mins were dominated by the home team, who controlled the ball well. This led to mistakes in the visitors defence ,and 2 penalties were conceded. 1 converted, 1 missed.
20 minutes in and Portadown got their first spell of possession. Good scrum and lineout and they pressed the CI line. After numerous drives they crashed over near the posts.
3..7 albeit against the run of play.
CI responded quickly. A series of breaks and strong carries stretched Portadown. Beverland jinked to the line and off loaded in the tackle for Gilliland to crash over near the posts. Try. Con missed.
From the kick off CI forced their way into the Portadown 20m area. A slick lineout and a planned move in midfield cut their defence open. Superb try under the posts. Butler. Con Kilgore.
CI regained possession and were quickly on the attack. Clever off loads, carries by the pack, moved them closer to the line. An excellent take by Tipping in the lineout led to a maul and drives by the home pack. Tipping crashed over for a well deserved try. Con missed.
On half time Portadown gained good territory, recycled numerous times and scored close in. Converted. A soft try to concede.
CI had dominated the half, scoring 3 tries, but were a mere 6 points clear.
The home side started the 2nd half with the sun at their backs. They dominated the next 30 minutes and could have scored numerous tries but for careless off loads, dropped passes etc..
They did score 2 tries. First out left.. a strong scrum, carries etc.. brought the pack close to the line and Tim Acheson crashed over. Con missed.
More pressure from the home team led to a penalty kicked to the corner. Good lineout and maul drove Simon Bailie over at pace. Kilgore converted the most difficult kick of the day.
32..14. 10mins left. Was it all over?
Portadown kicked deep. CI attacked through several phases. 3..2 overlap blindside on half way. CI attempted a dream pass which would put the winger clear. O’kane had other ideas. He intercepted well and scored a fine individual try. Converted from the touchline.
32..21. A belated Christmas gift from CI.
5 mins left. CI kicked off but good ball carrying from the Ports and indiscipline from CI,led to a penalty. Attack lineout on CI line. They won a good lineout and carried forward. After several phases they moved infield and crashed over near the posts. Converted.
Last minute. Portadown collected the K/O and forced their way back close to the CI 20m line. Mark McConkey,the CI 8, turned the ball over at the ruck and won a penalty.
The late, great John Murray, former President of CI and the Ulster Branch had a saying.. ” Never give a sucker an even break.” We almost did that on Saturday. A valuable lesson and 5 big league points. Portadown won 2 well deserved bonus points.