Senior Cup: Dungannon 25 Harlequins 5
Dungannon’s unbeaten run continued with a comfortable 25 – 5 win over visitors Belfast Harlequins at Stevenson Park in a match which started in bright sunlight and ended in heavy showers.
Dungannon were quick off the mark putting the visitors under immediate pressure and the home side got early reward when, the hugely impressive, Ali Birch broke through a series of tackles to bundle his way over for the opening score. Michael Lawton had an off day with the boot with his conversion attempt going wide.
Dungannon continued to press, running the ball at every opportunity and the home side went further ahead when Christopher Cochrane found himself in space in midfield and the blond bomber raced for the corner to score to push Dungannon’s lead to 10 -0.
Dungannon went further ahead when Cochrane crossed for his second, this time on the opposite wing. The normally reliable Lawton failed to convert and the score remained 15 – 0.
The remainder of the game was played in light drizzle, interspersed with heavy downpours, and understandably the standard of play deteriorated with the weather. However Dungannon managed to add another score in the first half with full back Conor Gaston breaking from mid-field to run clear for a fine score to give the home side a 20 – 0 lead at the break.
The weather continued to worsen and it appeared to be the visitors who adapted best to the conditions. Keeping the ball tight and passes short they worked their way up field on several occasions keeping the home side pinned back for much of the third quarter.
Having come close on several occasions Harlequins eventually forced their way over the line for a well deserved try, taking the score to 20 – 5. The visitors pressed hard for further scores but the Dungannon defence stood firm and the match went through a scrappy period with quite a few mistakes from both sides who were now thoroughly drenched!
However, with a brief flicker of sunshine towards the end, it was ‘Gannon who were able to respond and after surging runs from Mark Farquhar, Aaron Fry and Michael Kirkwood, Dungannon’s Tim Smith was driven over the line for the final score.
Dungannon: Conor Gaston, Michael Lawton, Ethan Allen, Glen Telford, Paul Magee, Jason Bloomfield, Christopher Cochrane, Michael Kirkwood, Kieran Campbell, Rowan Halsall, Mark Farquhar, Ben Howard, Aaron Fry, Michael Rainey,Ali Birch, Mark Riddell, Tim Smith, Adam Duhig, Stuart McKenzie, Philip Whyte.