Junior Rugby Roundup
Junior Rugby Reports and Roundup: 11th – 13th December 2015
It was a well above average weekend for junior rugby with all teams in action recording three wins and just one blot in the copybook.
The 2nds, in urgent need of a win, took on near neighbours Old Belvedere. This proved to be a highly entertaining match with 5 tries a piece, a lead that changed five times, and a win by the narrowest of margins for Old Wesley. Old Wesley made the early running scoring two tries in the first quarter by Alan Matthews and Scott McDonnell for a 12-0 lead. But the visitors responded with two converted tries to turn the lead in their favour. James Kelly regained the lead for Old Wesley with a penalty goal before two more converted tries by Conor Fitzgibbon and a second by Alan Matthews gave Old Wesley a 29-14 lead. Wesley now looked to have the result in the bag but the opposition quickly responded with two tries to make it a one point game. With 6 minutes on the clock another Belvedere converted try made it 35-29 in their favour. However the Old Wesley pack, who were in control all afternoon, were not prepared to give up. The Wesley scrum had the opposition in all sorts of trouble and following a series of penalties on the Belvedere line the referee awarded a penalty try. James Kelly converted with ease for a dramatic 36-35 win for Old Wesley.
The 3rds, smarting from their recent loss, took their revenge out against Malahide where Old Wesley recorded a comfortable 45-10 bonus point win. After a week of horrific weather conditions, especially during the Wednesday evening training session, all were preparing themselves for a wet and windy night. However Friday evening turned out to be ideal weather conditions for the 3rd XV’s free flowing expansive style of play… where good results usually stem. Contrary to what everyone predicted, Wesley’s classy backs did not steal the show at the start. Instead it was the powerhouse forwards that brought the game to Malahide in the early exchanges, with David Henry Winston Swaine reeling back the years at the forefront. Old Wesley took an early lead through the boot of Ken McLaughlin, soon followed by a well worked try by Jamie McConnell. During a number of spells in the first half Malahide fought back and brought the game to Wesley, however it was never enough as Wesley went in at half time a couple of tries up. Wesley never looked back in the second half introducing heavy hitters such as Neil Stanley off the bench, who along with Swainer made a number of impressive line breaks in the second half. Towards the end of the second half Wesley were down to 14 men / 13.5 men ,as Jamie ‘the butcher’ McConnell was still on the pitch (allegedly 3 assists and 1 try), however our defence held strong and we managed to finish off the game by scoring a couple of tries, winning comfortably in end, 45 points to 10.
The 4ths, paying a rare visit to Ballycorus, turned a 6 nil defecit into a highly respectable 38-6 win over Coolmine. See report below from one of the 4ths now famous player/reporters.
The only disappointment of the weekend was the 5ths who were badly beaten by Bective. We will say no more and hope they will bounce back in their next encounter.
Wesley demonstrate their full POWER to down Coolmine, by Phil Power
Metro League Division 6 – Old Wesley 38 Coolmine 6
The scenic surroundings of Ballycorus was the venue for what would prove to be an uplifting performance to round off the year. Having been promised a night of fun and festivities, the team had business to take care of first. With the biblical conditions sure to suit the more forward orientated game of Coolmine and having suffered their first league defeat of 2015 the week previous, tensions in the Wesley dressing room were high.
The early exchanges set the tone for the entire game which was a physical encounter. Soft underfoot, the pitch was playing much slower to what the team was used to in Donnybrook. Having conceded too many penalties early on, Coolmine swiftly took the lead through two shots at goal. After much tight play and errors from both sides, Wesley eventually managed to get over the line. With some good build up play and strong carriers from the forwards, Phil ‘I love Mrs. Gresh’ Power fed Andy ‘James Bond’ Boyle with a deft pass from the base of a ruck for him to pirouette through the Coolmine defence like a young Korean gymnast and secure a vital 5 points before half time. The highlight of the first half for this writer though, had to be witnessing Joe ‘How Long’s Left Ref’ Wheatly hit the deck like Jose Aldo after Graham White got a hand to a Coolmine kick which found the direction of Mr. Wheatley’s face, highly amusing. Through the grapevine, it is believed Joe had a few choice words for Graham post-game. Half Time (6-5 in favour of Coolmine).
After a few words of encouragement from the coaching staff and with last week’s defeat still fresh in the minds of the players, Wesley opened the half with much more ambition and purpose. Having sprung a few tactical substitutions during this period Wesley were beginning to apply heavy pressure on the Coolmine defence. Some very intricate back play resulted in the always childish Sam Moore and pacey Andy Handcock crossing the whitewash with Andy acquitting himself well to nail down the two conversions. Moments later David ‘Lovely Arms’ Priestman capitalised upon an error at the back by Coolmine and dived on the ball just before the line to cruise in. Cometh the hour and cometh the man, after having a fine display all game, stand in captain after Peter ‘Heart on his Sleeve’ Wallace had been removed, Michael Glynn was sure not to miss out on this second half try scoring bonanza. He managed to get on the end of an offload around the 22 and handed off the full back to break away for a clean run in under the posts. All in all, it was a well-executed performance with top brass management and playing folk alike satisfied with what they had achieved. The final score is deemed debatable with the officials reporting a 38-6 victory in favour of Wesley but Ivan ‘The pride of Arklow’ Sutton reporting 33-6, making us all wonder what game he was actually watching. Commendable notation must be given to man of the match Stevie Young for a fine outing.
Firmly rooted to the top of the league table and well refreshed going into the New Year, we take a 6 week break, where Co. Wicklow’s most ineligible bachelor, Michael Glynn will report on the encounter against Guinness.