Accies record consecutive bonus wins

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Omagh Academicals made it back-to-back bonus point league wins when they scored 27 unanswered points to claim the spoils in a tough contest against an uncompromising Ards outfit at Hamilton Park on Saturday.

Ards ...7
Omagh Academicals ...27

“We knew this would be a touch contest and certainly did not underestimate them based on league positions", stressed Omagh coach, Phil Marshall. "This is a league where complacency can catch you out in a big way and we prepared for a dogged game and that's what we got.

“Bonus point wins away from home are rare in this section so I am delighted to achieve this as we prepare for our next league encounter away to Portadown and a very tough run of fixtures in February."

Belying their lowly league position and points total, the Co. Down side started the brighter and took a 7-0 lead early on. The visitors started slowly and lack of line speed allowed the home centre to get through a gap before Neil Brown tackled him short of the line, though this was adjudged a high tackle and the penalty try was awarded. The conversion was tagged on.



Omagh regrouped and pulled a try back courtesy of winger Ryan Mitchell. A quick ball was then flashed through the backs and Mitchell went over for the Accies opening score. The conversion was missed.

On a day of debut scores, Omagh took the lead from a clever charge down and gather by hooker Richard Hemphill. The conversion was missed.

With everything to play for and the next try very important, it was the Co. Tyrone men who answered their coaches' call to arms with Mervyn Edgar, approaching veteran status in this young side, claiming the score. The conversion was added to give Omagh a bit of breathing space and came early enough for them to strive for the all-important fourth try.

Matthew Clyde was also a first time try scorer in his first year of adult rugby. The versatile back rower went over after a period of sustained pressure five metres from the Ards line, all of which resulted from turnover ball. This was the bonus point score and although the conversion went wide, it gave the Accies an unassailable lead.

Yonga Taleni has put in some very solid performances recently and registered a deserved try to close out the scoring near the end.


Upcoming encounter

Next up for Omagh is an away encounter against Portadown on Saturday. The Chambers Park men have title ambitions of their own, were early league leaders this season, and though they have faltered slightly of late, they will still pose a massive threat to Omagh. Very experienced, and with the inclusion of several promising and lively backs, they can turn anyone over on their day and will be keen to avenge an earlier narrow defeat in Co. Tyrone in a very closely fought encounter.

Omagh have accumulated 14 points from a possible 15 in their last three encounters and are well poised for a top four finish and automatic All-Ireland Junior Cup qualification in their second season in the top flight, but will be keeping their feet firmly on the ground with a very tough of league fixtures including games against Instonians, Clogher Valley and Armagh seconds in the Towns' Cup, coming up in the February.

Marshall will welcome back Lee Murphy and Alan Heaney to the squad for next week while David McFarland hoped to be available, though it may be a match too soon for Alistair Beckett.

Team: Stephen MacLaine, Ryan Mitchell, Yonga Taleni, Neil Brown, Scott Barr, Neil MacLaine, Stewart McCain, Kyle Alexander (C), Richard Hemphill, David Thompson, John Sproule, Jamie Sproule, Mervyn Edgar, Adam Longwell, James Catterson Subs: Matthew Clyde, Mark Brown.


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