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An early pitch inspection was passed and the game was on, although many in the league were postponed. CI came into the game fresh from a bonus point win against Grosvenor, at Malone, the previous week,and spirits were high. However, the pre-match lunch was swollen with no less than 10 injured players and, whilst it was great to see them, I’m sure they’d have preferred to be on the pitch.

In fairness Dromore were missing a few also, with their half-backs both absent.

CI started playing down the pitch towards the bowling green. They enjoyed a strong wind on their back which played a major role in the game.

From the off the home side pressed. A kickable penalty was declined and we kicked into the corner but lost the line out.. and the lineout proved a problem most of the first half. However, we continued to press their line, Burns and Gilliland testing their defence with strong runs through the midfield. Play was almost exclusively in Dromore’s half and whilst we came close on numerous occasions, they held firm. 25 minutes in we did break through the middle but a pass for a certain score went astray.

As luck would have it, Dromore made ground from the restart, a missed tackle, break down the left wing, recycled and eventually scored. Their first visit into the CI red zone.

CI Nil: Dromore 5 25 mins.

From the restart CI again made ground and peppered the opposition line. However, the defence held.. they realigned very quickly and made it difficult to break through.

Towards the end of the half, another penalty kicked to corner, but the lineout was lost. However, Dromore couldn’t get beyond their 20m line. A penalty was conceded and this time we took the kick. Lawton didn’t miss.

CI 3 : Dromore 5 Half Time.

For the second week running CI turned into the elements with a mountain to climb.

From the K/O the pattern of the game took the same pattern as the first half. Dromore peppered our line but we stood firm. They too had kickable penalties but took a scrum and then a lineout… and failed to break through.
CI defended resolutely, winning many penalties over the ball. Lawton and Fullerton put in many exceptional kicks, into the wind, and this relieved the pressure.

Despite the elements CI began creeping into opposition territory. Our lineout improved and our maul was excellent. However, Wiseman hurt his neck and left the field.. Todd moved into lock and a young Kane, grandson of John, came into the back row (and played really well).

Dowle, at line out and scrum, kept us moving and the pack rumbled forward.. Aiken, Acheson, Todd, Simpson all put in tremendous shifts. Unfortunately, any spills and the ball was simply kicked deep into our half and we had to start again.

25 minutes in.. a good line out on the far side on the 10m line, Dromore half. Clean take by Dowle and the ensuing maul rumbled for 20m, into the 20m area. Penalty to CI for infringing in the maul. We took a tap penalty and several carries stopped short of the line. A final push and Acheson crashed over for a try. Lawton added the points.

CI 10 : Dromore 5 65 minutes.

From the K/O CI kicked deep and the Dromore winger made a break through the midfield. Beverland took him from behind and their chance was gone. Any time they moved it wide we tackled hard.. Hodgson put in a couple of fierce tackes on his opposite number, in front on the crowd, which raised a roar.

With the wind Dromore had most of the territory for the final 10,but we held firm. Indeed another maul and tapped penalty near the Dromore line could have led to another score but we went over the top and were penalised.

Dromore had one more half break in midfield but we recovered well and won a turnover.

The last 2 minutes we kept it tight in the pack,lift and drive,lift and drive.. keep it simple, stupid.. but it was beautiful. Fullerton passed to Beverland and he put the ball in Belmont Park.

Game over, what a win.

CI 10 : Dromore 5

The 2nd half performance showed real heart and character. Tonight we sit joint 4th in the league. The bar was busy on Saturday evening.

Ooh the lads…