Portadown 41, Limavady 17
Section One side Portadown ended Limavady’s interest in the Powerade Towns Cup with a five-try victory at Chambers Park on Saturday.
The Blue Ribbon event in Ulster junior rugby has not been particularly kind to Limavady in recent years with a succession of tough draws and this year was no different. Portadown currently sitting fifth in Section 1, two divisions and 15 league places above the men from the North West.
Nevertheless, Limavady Head Coach Paul O’Kane was looking forward to seeing how his young chargers could handle a bigger, more experienced Qualifying 1 team.
As expected, it was the home side who made all the early running but Limavady defended stoutly and restricted the home side to two penalties from out-half Cousens.
On a rare foray into the Portadown half, the visitors thought they were back in the game when Jordan fed Hunter who touched down under the posts, but the referee had called play back for a forward pass. This was as close as it got for the visitors in the opening half as Cousens added two more penalties as well as an expertly struck conversion to his own try.
With the interval approaching, Limavady would have settled for being 19-0 down but on the stroke of half-time the Ports skipper touched down in the corner for a 24-0 lead at the turnaround.
A stern talking to at the break appeared to have fallen on deaf ears as the hosts scored two more tries in the opening 10 minutes of the second half to extend their lead to 36 points. Worse was to follow as out-half Greg Jordan was sinned binned for an infringement at a ruck.
However, at a point in the game when one would have expected the visitors to fold and let Portadown run away with it, the plucky young Roesiders rose to the challenge and went on to dominate the rest of the game.
On 53 minutes, Peter Wilson’s great vision saw right wing Robert Lamberton free and his cross-field kick was inch perfect for the winger to touch down and get Limavady on the scoreboard.
And they didn’t have long to wait for try No. 2. Jamie Miller combined with Chris Hunter to release Wilson who exploited a gap in the home defence to race clear from half-way to finish under the posts. Wilson added the extras and suddenly the Roesiders were playing with a bit of flare and confidence.
They further reduced the arrears on 66 minutes when, after winning a line-out in the Portadown ‘22’, flanker Daniel Irvine crashed over for his first score of the season.
Despite the fight back, it was the home side that had the last word when, with the final play of the game, full back Purvis broke through a tired and battered Limavady defensive to touch down for the hosts fifth and final try. Cousens’ conversion struck a post which left the final score 41-17.
The seconds didn’t fair much better in their Crawford Cup tie at home to Banbridge Thirds. Despite dominating for long periods, two break away tries from the County Down men saw the visitors record a 17-12 victory.
There was, however, a terrific victory for the Saracens in the Second round of the McCambley Cup against Tir Chonail. They recorded a 15-12 win against the Donegal team who are currently leading Minor League North West.
Next week sees the First XV and Second XV return to league action. The Firsts entertain Ophir while the Seconds welcome Ballynahinch Fifths. Both games are at the Hunter Memorial Grounds with 2.30pm kick offs.