After an impressive opening day win against Portadown, Donaghadee Rugby Club 1st XV made it two wins out of two with another bonus point victory against Dromore Rugby Club last Saturday at Donaldson Park.
Donaghadee started strongly with outhalf Paul Blewitt securing great territory within two minutes with a probing kick into the far corner. Dromore were unable to clear their lines and after the second Dee scrum of the day David Thompson got the first of Donaghadee’s six tries of the afternoon, after good work from debutant Keith McIlwaine. Ricardo Santos was successful with the conversion.
Regardless of the sport or the level at which it is played, successful teams tend to be those who score points when they find themselves dominating play and this season Dee have been clinical in doing just that. It was during one of these dominant spells Dee went on to score their second try. After good work in the middle of the pitch by Andrew Findlater and Nigel Barker, scrumhalf Ali Lockhart fed the ball to the blindside and found Billy Allen arriving at pace. Those who have watched DRFC in the last few seasons will know that this man needs no second invitation to attack the line and although he had men to use on his outside he did not need them and crossed the line to great home applause. Santos, up against a blustery wind, narrowly missed the conversion.
Mid-way through the first period Chris Hamilton went to ground visibly distressed and it was quickly clear he would play no further part in the game. It was confirmed after the game that Hamilton had broken his leg and although it appears to be an uncomplicated break, this is terribly disappointing for both player and club. We wish the talented young player a very speedy recovery.
With a number of injury stops from both teams the game became a little fragmented, however after some neat interplay from Chris Schofield and Gareth Gordon, replacement Kenny McCombe ghosted past three or four would be tacklers to touch down under the posts unchallenged. The successful conversion gave the Dee a 19-0 lead.
The all important fourth try that secured the bonus point for Donaghadee before the second half for the second week in succession came from the dynamic Ali Lockhart. After some strong tackling by both Richard Martindale and Kalava Aualiitia in the centre of the pitch Donaghadee secured turnover ball for Lockhart, who tucked the ball under his left arm and whilst some of the Dromore team were still looking for the ball in the ruck, the Donaghadee number nine fended off a couple of tackles and scored. Santos kicked successfully.
Half Time Donaghadee 26 – Dromore 0
Although Dromore exerted a little more pressure upon Donaghadee in the opening stages of the second half it was Donaghadee who looked the more likely to score. Indeed it was the innovative Schofield who came closest as he showed up on the right wing this week and with defenders bearing down on him opted to put in a delicate chip deep into Dromore territory that they eventually managed to clear.
Donaghadee continued to dominate set plays and it was from a line out in Dromore’s 22 that Lockhart got his second try of the game after good work from the Dee pack. Santos converted the conversion to make it 33-0.
Although Donaghadee supporters have seen their side score an average of six tries per game so far this season – it has been the committed, disciplined defence that has earned most plaudits. However in a rare moment of lapsed concentration Dromore took a quick penalty and after one pass fed the oncoming Dromore fullback who scored under the posts. A reminder perhaps to all just how clinically lapses in concentration can be punished in this particular league.
The supporters on the clubhouse side of the pitch could be forgiven for being a little jealous of those in the cheap seats on the far side, as it was here that most of Donaghadee’s play was in the second half. It was from another Dee set piece on the far side that the industrious Dee pack started a rolling maul that started outside the Dromore 22 and ended over the try line securing Dee’s final score of the game. It was only a question of who was going to get the acclaim of touching the ball down after this terrific pack effort. Thompson was the last to emerge clinging onto the match ball, his second try of the day.
Final Score Donaghadee 38 – Dromore 14
This was a fine win for the newly promoted Donaghadee team who have now taken maximum points from their opening two fixtures. After securing a bonus point before the interval it was always going to be a difficult task to sustain the attacking performance in the second half, especially as injuries meant some players found themselves playing out of position for long periods of the game.
The Dee face their first challenge away from home this weekend when they play Academy RFC at Roughfort. These two sides have been involved in some entertaining battles in the last number of years and this fixtures promises to be no different. Your support would be very much appreciated by both players and coaching staff.
Scoops Man of the Match
This week my award goes to a young man who appears to be enjoying his rugby at Qualifying One standard. His two tries where no less than his performance deserved – Alistair Lockhart
Team that played Dromore RFC:
(15-9) Billy Allen, Ricardo Santos, Andrew Findlater (Paul Hamilton), Nigel Barker, Rory Garnham, Paul Blewitt, Alistair Lockhart; (1-8) Chris Schofield, Gareth Gordon, Chris Good, Kalave Aualiitia, David Thompson, Paul Hamilton, Chris Hamilton (Kenny McCombe), Keith McIlwaine