Armoy’s title tilt suffers a setback

Armoy’s league aspirations suffered a minor set back on Saturday when they were held to a draw for the third time this season.

It had all started so well with Armoy forcing the play in the early stages of the match against a strong Strabane 2nds.

For all their efforts the men from Limepark could not break down a determined Strabane defence. After weathering the early storm Strabane mounted their own attack and also found an equally strong and determined Armoy rear guard.

It was from a defensive position that Armoy conjured up the first score of the day. With Strabane trying to push forward the ball was spilled by their backs just inside the Armoy 10 metre line.

This was scooped up by Armoy winger Richard Bartlett who showed great strength and skill to sidestep a couple of tackles and break out of a third. He was then in the clear with 30 meters to go. With two Strabane players trying to catch he showed them a clean pair of heels and went over in the corner for a well earned try. Unconverted.

Before the half time break both sides had spells of possession but neither were able to make that decisive breakthrough.

Half Time Strabane II 0 Armoy 5

The second half started with Strabane in the ascendancy forcing Armoy to defend deep in their own half but again the Armoy defence held firm. Armoy then applied a bit a attacking pressure themselves. From a scrum on the half way line the ball was fed out to the backs and again winger Richard Bartlett evaded the tackles and broke clear. He was caught on the Strabane 22 but managed a great offload to centre Gordon McConaghie who was there in support. McConaghie finished the job to run over for a try. Converted by C.Nesbitt.

Strabane piled on the pressure from the restart but Armoy were dogged in defence and were holding on comfortably. With about 12 minutes to go Armoy set up an attack. With play just beyond the Strabane 10 metre line Armoy out half Craig Nesbitt put a clever kick through which caught the onrushing Strabane defenders on their heels.

Winger Richard Bartlett gave chase but the ball rolled out for a line out on the 22 before he could reach it. It proved to be a turning point in the match as Nesbitt had done his hamstring in performing the kick through and had to retire injured. This left Armoy a man down as they had used all their subs.

Strabane used this extra man advantage very well and put pressure on and wore down the Armoy defence and exploited the advantage very well to go over in the corner for a try. Uncoverted.

From the kick off they again pressurised and harried Armoy. With two minutes remaining they were awarded a 5 metre scrum. The number 8 picked up and ran for the line, he showed great strength and technique to stretch out of the tackle and place the ball down for a converted try which levelled the score.

Full time Strabane II 12 Armoy 12

After the match Armoy Captain Gareth Christie thanked the players for their efforts and felt that had we had the full compliment of players we would have seen out the match with a win.

Please could all players make an extra effort to get to training on Wednesday as we have another tough away fixture next week against UUC II.

Armoy team: N Porterfield ,A Bartlett,R Shannon,K Greenlaw,B Taggart,D Ramage,G Christie,I Caldwell,M Walker,C Nesbitt,R Bartlett,D Linton,G McConaghie,M McConaghie,J Traynor, Subs R McKinley,R Gardner,T Christie.

Written by N Porterfield