Rugby – U/17’s North Midlands League
IT has been 18 month since these players last played and it was definitely worth the wait to see them as both teams didn’t wait too long to let off some pent up steam.
With the forwards getting to know each other, scores were few and far between and massive tackles were put in by Portlaosie’s Ivan Okonkwo, Sean Peters and Evan Caffrey to mention just a few. But that couldn’t stop Newbridge taking a five point lead.
Portlaoise tried everything to make parity but Newbridge held out for the half time whistle.
After the half team talk Portlaoise came out even more determined and with Jake Darcy’s lofty pass to Ivan Okonkwo, who used all his power to drive over the line, to even up the match.
Portlaoise were on top now and the forwards were loving the tussle up front. After a long struggle Cathal Kenny drove over the white wash to put Portlaoise ahead. Conor Raggett converted a long distance conversion which proved crucial.
Newbridge were not happy to fall behind and things got little overheated and the referee did well not to hand out more than one red card.
With Portlaoise a man down the Newbridge scrum half played a clever kick in behind the Portlaoise defence and the on running centre did well to touch the ball down before it went over the end line.
Portlaoise’s line out was working well with Adam Glynn flying high, which set the perfect platform for Portlaoise to score another try. Scrumhalf PJ Larkin passed out to Jake Darcy who played the crash ball out to Conor Raggett who was sandwiched between two Newbridge players but still managed to get over the line.
Portlaoise were 17-10 up at this stage with time was running out. But Newbridge responded decisively with a try in the last minute of the game.
It was all down to the last conversion and Portlaoise were delighted, and relieved, to see the kick drift wide. As a result Portlaoise held on to their narrow 17-15 lead and what a great way to get the long awaited season started.