Tough test for Dalriada against RBAI

A young, but spirited, Dalriada 1st XV was eventually overpowered by a strong RBAI side in Ballymoney on Saturday morning.

RBAI’s size and bulk was the deciding factor as the physical toil on the Ballymoney side finally showed in the score line, with RBAI scoring three tries in a 21-3 win.

The game started evenly with RBAI dominating possession but were met by strong work by Dalriada in defence and at the breakdown. However, RBAI had their opening score through a moment of panic in the Dalriada defence. The ball was dropped in the Dalriada backline resulting in a hack kick through by RBAI, placing immense pressure on the home side’s back three. A loose kick was gathered by one of the Inst players which lead to the Belfast team smashing over the line for their first score.

Dalriada then hit back immediately from the restart when Dalriada pressure at the breakdown resulted in a penalty. The kick was converted by Timmy Emerson which brought the score line to 7-3.

Shortly before half time, Inst had their second score as a poorly chased kick lead to a winding break through the Dalriada defence. Several phases of ball retention resulted in the scrum half stretching to touch down close to Dalriada’s posts. Half-time score 14-3 to RBAI.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first with RBAI dominating possession and field position.

They however could not break the Dalriada defence down despite looking to be in the ascendancy in many situations.

Dalriada’s defence however did buckle as ill discipline cost valuable field position. Inst’s size once again came to the forefront as they smashed over the line after a considerable number of phases. The familiar pattern of Inst controlling the game continued to the end, with Dalriada refusing to yield. Final score 21-3 to RBAI.

Despite the score line there are a great number of positives for Dalriada. They showed really spirit and courage in defence as well as an increased physicality form last week’s performance. But the main positive from this game is that it proves that Dalriada can still compete with these established rugby schools despite losing many players for this season. This inexperienced team is improving game on game and with 5 Year 12 players on the pitch on Saturday; the team can only keep on improving. The game also highlighted a number of areas of improvement which will be worked upon a head of a tough run in of fixtures.

Riding on the back of a win against a strong Rainey side the previous Saturday Dalriada 2nd XV looked to maintain good form in what would be one of their most challenging matches of the season. Dalriada hit hard from the whistle in the second half and only 30 seconds in a charged down ball in the RBAI 22 lead to a try by the flying winger Philip Taylor. This try was unconverted and Dalriada knew that RBAI would now pick up their game and they in turn had to do the same. The rest of the half was very closely fought however flaws in Dalriada’s defence around the edges led to tries in the corners. RBAI scored 3 tries against a Dalriada side which saw little ball in the second half. All 3 tries were converted leaving the score at a very respectable 21-5. The whole team, 1 to 15, put everything they had into the game and left nothing on the pitch, just as last week. With continued work the 2nd XV will be able to contest every game this season.

The junior sides all travelled away to Cambridge House with mixed success.

The medallion side still weakened by a few started with great determination but came out second best against a strong Cambridge side. It was a closely contested match by both sides with the score ending 36-26 with tries from Jamison, Malcomson, Finnerty and Henderson with Sparks converting three out of four tries. Outstanding performances from Magee, Strang and Hunter and good defence shown by Myer and Malcomson. The previous week the medallion side did show their potential with a good win over Rainey ES.

A much changed Medallion starting 15 after last week’s absences and injuries saw the squad show their true running potential which in the end was far too much for their Rainey counterparts,

On near perfect conditions the Dalriada’s backs started showing their pace and  quick thinking and a great pick up saw Finnerty break away and outpace the Rainey defence, this was quickly followed up with a second breakout from the backs with Jamieson finishing in the corner and converted by Sparks. Rainey replied after some poor defence from Dalriada with a score but could not convert it, a free flowing move then saw the Dalriada pack ruck the ball and spin out to the backs, quick hands saw Sparks step in and out and go over the line. Finnerty added his second and Dalriada’s fourth to put the boys from Ballymoney well clear this time the conversion added by Strang, two more scores from Hunter in the back row and a second from winger Jamieson stretched the lead at half time to 34-5,

The second half was all very familiar with the Dalriada backs running the show Finnerty completed his hat trick with another pick up and Sparks added a second for himself and Dalriada’s eighth which prompted the referee to end the game early, a fine attacking display from the backs and some excellent pick and drives from Malcolmson Kane and Graham as the pick off the forwards.

The under 14’s had an excellent win over their counterparts on Saturday by 43-7.

Right from the start they set their stall out when Matthew Lockhart got this hands on the ball breaking the line and outpacing the defence to score. 

This woke up the home side and the next score didn’t come for the Dalriada men until 15 minutes in and some good support running from backrow Andrew Stevenson who finished well to score under the posts.  The forwards show good ball retention in attack and were justly rewarded with a try after a good pick and drive from a ruck by Matthew Kernohan. 

The half finished with a trademark try from the visitors who flashed the ball wide finding fullback Louis Warke in space who raced in to score in style under the posts.  Half-time score 28-0. The next score came five minutes into the second half after good pressure in the lineout leaving the home side untidy ball only for backrow Jacob Curry to pouch and score a try.  It was after this that Cambridge House made a substitution bringing a huge, strong running centre on, catching the Dalriada men by surprise; he made good ground and offloaded well to create their first score.  Score now 33-7. 

This score seemed to give Cambridge House renewed hope and it was Dalriada’s turn to defend and defend they did, most notably two huge hits in a row from centre Matthew McConaghie and several turnovers from backrow Matthew Kernohan. 

The next score came after an opportunist chip through from centre Lockhart who judge the kick perfectly to beat the defence to the ball and score.  The final score of the match came after a dropped ball by the Cambridge house backs in Dalriada’s 22, hacked through by fullback Warke, who then showed good footballing skills to kick the ball on twice more and beat the defence to reach the ball first to touch it down. 

Final score 43-7.