Bangor get their revenge on Derry
By Louis Fields
City of Derry RFC 1st XV Match Report
City of Derry RFC 1st XV Match Report
(vs Bangor, 27/10/18)
Bangor RFC 27-10 City of Derry RFC
Venue Uprichard Park Saturday 27th October 2018
With the sun shining and a strong wind blowing, Bangor kicked off into the wind and after failing to reach the requisite ten metres, Derry started with a scrum on half way. In retreat, Stephen Corr picked up from the scrum to feed Simon Logue, who rifled a kick to bring the game close to the Bangor five metre line. Bangor were unable to cope with the wind and resulted in a lineout that was not straight. From the resulting scrum, Corr fed Logue again who came up short, recycled ball and helped Adam Bratton drive over the line to open the scoring. This was not a day for goal kickers as Conal Gill missed the opening conversion.
Three minutes gone and Derry with the perfect start.
For the next 15 minutes Derry would be camped in Bangor’s half. At every attempt to get out, Bangor were thwarted by some superb tackling from the likes of Corr and Ferguson. Davy Graham also put his money maker on the line when he got clattered and to his credit, bounced up from a heavy slap to the face. The scrums were indifferent to say the least; Sam Duffy unquestionably had the beating of his opponent at scrum time but again, and not for the first time this season, the referee adjudged Sam to be the offender. It’s inconceivable that the stronger and technically proficient player is penalised.
With Bangor struggling to get out of their own half, they were caught holding onto the ball on the ground and this provided Derry an opportunity to slot over from thirty metres, right in front of the posts. However, Conal Gill pushed it wide and right. Derry’s lineout was firing well and with the introduction of Conor McMenamin making his senior debut, the Derry lineout has got another dimension. Conor showed his rugby intelligence all day by being in the right place at the right time, especially in the lineout where made all the right decisions. These little moments can make such a difference and from this forward momentum, Derry were awarded a penalty. Simon Logue always on the look-out for an opportunity ceased the moment. A quick tap and with defenders unable to touch him, he gained ground and with three players to beat, Simon weaved his magic to get past everyone and score Derry’s second try, a magnificent individual piece of skill. Conversion from almost exactly the same position as the first was also missed. 10-0 Derry lead with fifteen minutes gone.
I like to report Derry success although this was to be the last points that Derry would get in this match. As the game continued, Bangor started to get opportunities. With Calum O’Hagan and David Lapsley missing tackles, it provided Bangor the forward momentum that they did not deserve. A massive hit by Stephen Corr was seen as a no arm tackle and the referee played advantage. From this passage of play, Bangor moved the ball wide to exploit the Derry wing and through simple passing, allowed full Back Phil Broderick in for Bangor’s first try. This, coupled with the loss of David Ferguson to injury and Jamie Hamilton needing treatment, the strength of the bench would be tested.
The first half finished 5-10 and with Bangor growing into the game and with the wind in their back, it was always going to be a tough second half. The second half began with infringements galore, knock-on’s and forward passes all disrupting the flow the game. However, the turning point in the game came when Derry had a scum under their own posts five metres out. Derry put in and Bangor just blew the scrum apart, turning over the ball and driving for the line, collapsing the scrum. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try, which now is an automatic seven points as there is no conversion. Derry having led for so long now found themselves behind at 12-10. With plenty of time left, Derry did not need to panic but when momentum turns, it’s hard to stop it. Bangor with their tails up came at Derry strong and hard. The self-belief in Bangor was evident and the confidence gained from such a turnover showed as they were comfortably the better team in the last twenty minutes.
Derry on the back foot made some poor decisions and appeared to lose their composure and self-belief. First came Dessie Fusco to finish in the corner, a penalty from Nathan Graham, and to add insult to injury, centre Nathan Graham also cut through the desperate Derry defence to run in under the posts to leave a simple conversion ending the game 27-10.
The second half collapse by Derry needs addressing, the lapses in concentration have proven to be an Achilles heel. At this level you cannot switch off, you cannot lose your shape or you will be on the receiving end of a beating. It was very disappointing to watch as a supporter although there is enough quality and individual talent to compete at this level. I have yet to see this Derry side give up or lie down. It’s the fine margins that make or break games and Derry will fight to the bitter end and that is commendable. Disappointing as it is, this young side must learn how to manage a game over eighty minutes.
Four games played with two home wins and two away losses, Derry remain sixth in the league of ten teams with nine points, Midleton lead the way with a maximum twenty points. Omagh, who were defeated by Midleton on Saturday, will be keen to put distance between themselves and Derry when they meet this Saturday at the Craig Thompson Stadium, Judges Road, kick-off 2.30pm. I encourage all local rugby fans to get out to support these teams as it promises to be an tense and enthralling encounter as the battle for places in All Ireland Rugby gets local.