Tom (57) plays in 40th year but not even he can stop Strabane!

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ARMOY II 0 STRABANE II 15

Resolute Armoy 2ndXV, with 57-year-old Tom Christie running out for his 40th season, refused to lie down to league champions but lost 15-0.

Armoy 2nd XV kicked of the season at Lime Park against last season’s minor league north champions Strabane 2ndXV. Traditionally matches against Strabane were closely fought gritty encounters and this one was no exception to that rule.

The game started with Armoy kicking to Strabane who gathered the ball in well and set about their task of keeping the home team penned inside their own half. The visitors tried hard to get the early breakthrough in an attempt to rattle the Armoy confidence, but although they knocked at the door the Armoy defence held firm.

It was in fact 25 minutes before either team made a mark on the scoreboard and it was the visitors who finally broke the deadlock with a penalty just outside the Armoy 22.

The rest of the half was played out with both teams having spells of possession but neither side relenting until virtually the last play of the half.

From a Strabane scrum just inside the Armoy 22 the ball was shipped down through the back line out to a Strabane player out on the wing. He cut inside and crashed over the line. Despite appearing to have been held up by 2 Armoy defenders the referee awarded the try.

The second half largely followed the same pattern as the first half the only exception being that Strabane made the breakthrough after 5 minutes when Armoy spilled the ball at the back of a line out and a Strabane wing forward being quick off the mark to scoop up the ball and crash over the line for a converted try. This was the only score of the half with the rest of the match being played out as a stalemate.

It would be fair to say that Armoy had their best spell of possession in the last quarter of the match with both forwards and backs going through some good phases of play, it was just unfortunate that they could not make any decisive break through that they play deserved.

After the match 2nd XV Captain Neil Porterfield thanked each of the 15 players who turned out for a creditable and confidence giving performance.

He said there were a lot of positives to be taken from the match but there are still many areas that need worked on and the only place that this can be done is on the training pitch. He asked for all players to turn out on Wednesday evening in preparation for next Saturday’s match against Letterkenny 2nd XV @ Lime Park.

Special praise must also be given to John Cassley who made his debut as a prop on Saturday as he stuck to the task and more than held his own against a very experienced Strabane front row, despite the referee who saw fit to award no fewer than 35 scrums in the match.

It was good to see Armoy centre Darryl Williams in the black and amber after a three year absence, Finally further congratulations to club president Tom Christie who maintained his record as being the only player to have played in every season since the club’s foundation in 1974.

BIG PLANS FOR LIME PARK

Over the last six months Armoy RFC have been in consultation with Otium Leisure Consultancy in Broughshane in order to draw up a sports development plan with a view to the redevelopment of the entire Lime Park site. This plan is not just to benefit the rugby club but will be a community based multi sport facility which will be operated independently from Armoy RFC.

A spokesperson said: “As we all know the current building at Lime Park is well past its best and is in dire need of replacement. It is our vision to erect an new multi sport building with all the facilities that you would expect to find in a modern sports facility. The first stage of the process is to invite all members of the public to our launch evening on Saturday 28th September at 5pm when there will be a presentation of the plans and the whole vision of the Lime Park redevelopment scheme will be publicly announced. We will also be launching the ‘Friends of Armoy’ scheme where members of the community will be able to contribute to the fund. Similar schemes were successfully ran by Glenravel and Lavey. Both these rural areas are very similar to Armoy and these schemes were pivotal in their successful applications for Grant funding of £1.5million and £2 million respectively. Both these communities now have these state of the art facilities on their doorsteps because the local people backed the vision of their local sports clubs. We on the Lime Park redevelopment committee firmly believe that similar facilities are long overdue in our area.”