Students hand much changed Derry harsh lesson

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Queen’s 51

City of Derry 15

A much changed City of Derry XV were comprehensively defeated 50-15 in a one-sided Ulster Senior League encounter against Queen’s University on Saturday as the Belfast students ran in eight tries to the visitors’ two.

City of Derry 15

A much changed City of Derry XV were comprehensively defeated 50-15 in a one-sided Ulster Senior League encounter against Queen’s on Saturday as the Belfast students ran in eight tries to the visitors’ two.

Derry made no less than 10 changes from the side held at Bective Rangers the previous week in AIL Division 2A while Queens themselves had a number of changes as both squads tried out a number of fringe players.

The home side started the game with real intent and were in front with just two minutes on the clock when poor tackling from Derry allowed winger Damien Hall to get for a try in the corner. With Justin Rae converting, the home team were in front by 7-0.

Derry were guilty of another missed tackle in midfield just four minutes and again Hall was the man to benefit as he got in for an unconverted try to put Queen’s 12-0 up.

Derry received another major setback on 10 minutes when they lost second row David Houston to injury which must make him a major doubt for this weekend’s Ulster Senior Cup semi-final against Ballynahinch at Judges Road. Despite the injury, Derry eventually settled, gaining territory which led to Queen’s straying offside. The resulting penalty allowed out-half Neil Burns to reduce the deficit to 12-3.

Derry’s defensive shortcomings were exposed again when more with poor tackling on 25 minutes let Queen’s winger McAuley in to touch down for an unconverted try. Queen’s were well on top now as they dominated possession and were able to play typical student rugby throwing the ball around at will as Derry lost their shape.

The Students got in for another try just before half time following great continuity in their off-loading which allowed wing-forward Ryan Clarke to touch down for a try to leave the half time score at 24-3.

Derry regrouped at half time and started the second half with more purpose. Andrew Semple, who was introduced from the bench, was pulling the strings at scrum-half and Jack Caithness got in for an unconverted try to reduce the arrears to 24-8.

However, good play again from Queen’s with 50 minutes gone allowed McAuley get in for his second try which Rae converted to leave the score 31-8. The home were back on the attack five minutes later and, following sustained pressure, scrum-half Conor Spence nipped in for a try which Rae again converted for a 38-8 lead.

Queen’s had Ulster player Stuart McIlwaine playing in the centre and he showed his class on 70 minutes when he made a great break in midfield and strolled in for another try, converted again by Rae for a score line of 45-8.

Queen’s confirmed their dominance when second row Grant Barclay got through for an unconverted to allow his team to reach the half century with five minutes to go. Derry finished the game with a flourish when Simon Logue was on hand to capitalise on good play to race in for a converted try to leave the final score 50-15 for Queens.

City of Derry: William McCleery, Ryan Campbell (capt), Adam Parke, Adam Bratton, Josh Lewis, Neil Burns, Jack Caithness, Chris Shields, Cathal Cregan, Paul McFeely, David Houston, Chris Cooper, Ross Scott, Jonny Lyons, Stephen Corr. Replacements; David Ferguson, Gareth Beattie, Andrew Semple, Simon Logue.