Dominant Bangor defeat Accies.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Dominant Bangor defeat Accies. thumbnail James Catterson scored Omagh Accies’ only try against Bangor.

FRESH form the highs of a league victory over Dungannon last week, Omagh Accies experienced the lows when defeated 19-5 in the AIL against a Bangor side that used its size to dominate up front, take an early lead and maintain it through a tough 80 minutes played in difficult conditions.


"I am disappointed and frustrated with the performance today," reflected Accies coach, Phil Marshall, after the loss. "We talked about the Bangor pack, their rolling mauls off the lineout and how to defend it, but then didn't execute.

The match was lost in the first 15 minutes when they scored two converted tries and we then couldn't score when we pummelled their line with their second row in the sin bin.

"We then lost three props in the second half, got into the game, but didn't guard around the fringes and then got over for their third score.

They may have the biggest pack in AIL 2C and can't afford to give them a 14-0 headstart in the first quarter.

I would have liked something from this game, even a losing bonus point, but it wasn't to be." Omagh had a few changes from last weeks' game with Richard Hemphill and Adam Longwell replacing Adam Pollock and Richard Harpur respectively but were soon looking at a 14-0 deficit playing into a strong wind in the first period.

The Bangor out half used the line well while the lineout catch and drive proved fruitful for the home side with two drives by a massive pack resulting in two converted tries.

The Accies stemmed the flow and came into the game but were unable to capitalise on Lewis Stevenson's second yellow card against Omagh in successive matches, and despite pummelling the home line were unable to pull a score back before the break. Half time 14-0 James Catterson continued his fine try-scoring form with another from close in when Omagh moved round the fringes early in the second period by were unable to convert.

The second period turned into a disaster zone for the Accies pack with injuries to their two starting props Peter Todd and Richard Smyth, both of whom have had fine seasons, last year's thirds captain Todd with powerful scrummaging, while the versatile Smyth has been a constant plus on his return from an injury plagued last campaign. To compound things, replacement Kyle Alexander was also lost for the game and probably the remainder of the season.

"We didn't need this at all", admitted Marshall, before adding "just when things are looking up with one starting second row back and the possibility of another commencing training again, along with three backs hopefully available for the next match, we lose three key front rowers. It's a tough pill to swallow but that's part and parcel of the game."

Omaghs' pack, despite the losses, played well in the second half and solidified things, with some impressive defending from mauls, one right at the end denying the home side a bonus point, but by this stage they had added a third from round the fringes close in, a carbon copy of the Accies score. This again went unconverted.

It was a difficult day for free-flowing rugby with the strong wind, while the freezing temperatures made slick handling phases rare and incisive backline movements were at a premium.

This was the final score on a disappointing day for the Accies but there were some positives for the Omagh camp. "We didn't crumble after the two early scores, after that they didn't look like scoring.

The injuries allowed some decent time for the guys from the bench, and it was good to see Jonny Sproule playing again, while Luke Hanson had another fine game making some very good breaks and loads of ground, but we couldn't capitalise."

Omagh have a week off ahead of another trip to Upritchard Park in an Ulster League game, that could see Neil Brown, Alistair Beckett and Yonga Taleni added to the squad, though front row resources will be stretched.

This result sees Omagh and Bangor tied with regard to points, though the top two in the AIL 2C, Sligo and Thomond, did not play at the weekend, and so the league table is askew somewhat.

If both win their rearranged fixtures they will move some distance from the chasing pack. What is certain, Omagh need to take points from the back to back games against Seapoint and Thomond to avoid being sucked into a bottom of the table relegation battle.

Team : Stephen MacLaine, Matty Eccles, Luke Hanson, Scott Barr, Ryan Mitchell, Scott Elliott, Stewart McCain (c), Peter Todd, Richard Hemphill, Richard Smyth, Mervyn Edgar, Jonny Sproule, James Catterson, Adam Longwell, Matthew Clyde

Subs : Kyle Alexander, Philip Ewing, Stuart Allen, Eoin Murnaghan, Alan Heaney


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