Strabane no match for Derry this time
By Louis Fields
City of Derry RFC 3rd XV Match Report
City of Derry RFC 3rd XV Match Report
(vs Strabane 2nd XV, 20/10/18)
CDRFC 3rd XV 46 - 0 Strabane 2nd XV
The Mighty Three’s took on their neighbours and rivals, The Strabane Devils, in a highly anticipated local Derby match. There was no shortage of availability after a successful training week that saw 4 full senior teams train for the first time in years at Judges Road. The competition for positions added pressure for those selected to prove themselves. With the players still reeling from the loss at Rainey last week, this was their opportunity to make amends and unfortunately for Strabane, they stood in the way.
Derry started the game well, controlling the possession. It took 8 minutes before Derry got on the score board when Alex Renaud broke the line, handing off the opposition to score. The windy conditions led to conversion being missed however. Keeping the pressure on, Derry were soon back in the Strabane half. A penalty in front of the posts gave out-half Jack Cassidy a second chance at goal, but again it drifted just wide.
Derry continued to control the game, starving Strabane of possession. Derry were awarded another kickable penalty, but this time opted to kick to the corner. The lineout was scrappy but second row Barney McLaughlin managed to secure the ball and in the confusion, slipped straight through the Strabane line to score. Again the kick was wide.
Derry were conscious of their bad habit of starting strong and losing focus in the middle of games this season and they were determined not to repeat the mistake. From a line out, scrum half Michael Rankin broke through a half-gap. Unable to make a tackle, the Strabane 2nd row attempted to trip Rankin and received a yellow card from the referee. Derry were quick to capitalise on the man advantage when Renaud went over for his second of the day.
The subsequent restart was scrappy when the ball was allowed to bounce, but the ball was quickly gathered by prop Tom Pearson who popped the pass to Number 8 Ashley Doherty who took the pass at pace, swatting away defenders to run in a try from 65 meters. The try was converted by fullback Daire Walker, making the first kick of the game to make it 22-0.
Derry's onslaught continued when Derry exploited the space out wide. Skipper Aaron Deery passed to Mark Smyth who beat his opposite man, only to be held up inches short by the Strabane fullback. Luckily, Brendan Murphy was quick to arrive, picking and placing the ball on the line for the score. Walker stepped up to nail the touchline conversion. Strabane weren't back to a full accompaniment for long when their Number 8 saw yellow for slapping the ball from Rankin's hand at the back of a ruck. Just like before, Renaud soon made use of the extra space and ran in for his hat trick.
Derry knew they had to keep the pressure on as no doubt Strabane would come back fighting after half time. Still with the man advantage, Derry picked up where they left off, keeping the ball and pressuring Strabane. This pressure soon led to space and Walker was soon in for a try of his own. Once Strabane were back to full strength, they were ready to show that Derry weren't going to have it all their own way. They made their way into the Derry 22 for possibly the first time in the game and began to pressure Derry. The home team's defence began conceding penalties under pressure, and soon the referee had seen enough, sending Tom Pearson to the sinbin for not rolling away in the tackle.
Even with 14 men, the Derry line held strong. After such dominance earlier in the game, Derry had no intention of letting Strabane breach their line. A penalty against Strabane for crossing was the let off Derry needed and they cleared their lines. The game turned in to an arm wrestle in the middle of the pitch, as the fast pace champagne rugby of the first half slowed, but Derry weren't finished yet.
Following a scrum in the Strabane 22, Ashley picked from the base of the scrum and passed off to Rankin who scored on his first start of the year.
FT CDRFC 46-0 Strabane