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Match Report: Donaghadee 1XV v Randalstown 1XV - 23.03.3024

Match Report: Donaghadee 1XV v Randalstown 1XV - 23.03.3024

Mark Poole25 Mar - 09:48
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Dee make it hard work for their visitors

Match report by Geoff Ingham
Photo Credit to Ian Adamson

Donaghadee welcomed Randalstown to Donaldson Park on Saturday for their final league game of the season. Whilst the Dee’s fate had already been determined, the visitors came in search of five points which would see them possibly finish runners-up in the final league standings.

A few changes from the previous match saw veteran Davy Skipp in the front row and Daniel Onstwedder starting at number eight. The changes in the backline included Harry McCracken at outhalf, Braiden McGrath on the wing and Mark Cooper at fullback.

Just as the game kicked off the wind picked up and brought with it sheets of heavy rain that swept across the pitch for the first twenty minutes of the match. Randalstown had the elements in their favour and spent most of the first forty minutes in the Dee’s half. As has been the case all season the Dee had to spend most of their time defending which they did with the usual determination and tenacity. With ten minutes gone the visitors took the lead with a well struck penalty, after several scoring opportunities had been nullified by the Dee.

A couple of minutes later Randalstown did manage to break the line and scored next to the posts to leave an easy conversion which pushed the score to 10-0. The moist conditions were making it difficult for both teams to play attractive rugby and the numerous handling errors led to a plethora of scrums. However, the Dee managed to restrict Randalstown to just one more score before half time to leave the score at 15-0. Randalstown stretched their lead early in the second half when they scored a well -worked try in the left-hand corner after several phases of play.

With the elements now in their favour the Dee saw a lot more of the ball and began to test the visitors’ defence. As the game entered the final quarter the Dee were penalised for a late tackle and the Dee player was rather harshly shown a yellow card. Even with the numerical disadvantage the Dee kept attacking and Matthew Stockton chose to take a quick tap when awarded a penalty near the half way line. After making a few yards he kicked the ball behind the Randalstown defence and Nathan Boyd managed to beat the backtracking defenders to touch down to score. The conversion was successful to make the score 20-7.

With ten minutes left the visitors had not bagged the bonus point they needed and the travelling support were on tender hooks. However, in almost the last play of the game a cross-field kick was superbly gathered by the winger who then managed to touch down in the corner to make the final score 25-7.

Man of the match this week was Nathan Boyd for an excellent display including his well-taken try. So, a long hard season finishes for this young Dee team who never waivered in their efforts throughout the year. Next season will provide them an opportunity to continue the rebuilding process and hopefully make a swift return to Division Two.

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