Last second Beckett try snatches win over leaders

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Last second Beckett try snatches win over leaders thumbnailOmagh Accies' Ali Beckett got the winning try over Instonians on Saturday.

A TRY by fullback Alistair Beckett with the final play of the game saw Omagh claim the points in this titanic top two clash at Thomas Mellon Playing Fields on Saturday.

Omagh Accies I XV...18
Instonians I XV...17

The home side had pummelled the Instonians line for numerous phases, refused to panic and with the visitors defence sucked in, spun the ball wide for Beckett to squeeze in at the corner to seal a critically important victory.

This was the second one point victory over Instonians this season having closed out a fine performance at Shaw's Bridge by 22-21 in September, and coming from behind against a strong team playing against the elements and a side with momentum pleased the Accies camp.

With scores in the first and final minutes, the Accies showed they wouldn't give up and kept their cool as the game entered its dying stages in front of a both sizeable and vociferous crowd.

“It was very important that we followed up last week's derby win against Clogher with a good performance," said a jubilant Omagh coach, Phil Marshall. "This was an old-fashioned match with plenty of commitment, good attacking rugby and endeavour. I asked for a big game from my players and they didn't disappoint.

“It was a great performance from everyone today and I was delighted we had the patience and clinical edge to finish it off at the end.

“We have played our way into a strong position, but will certainly not be resting on our laurels. We have a very important game on Tuesday night against Ards and aren't looking past that one. Our last two wins will count for nothing if we fail to perform against Ards."


Out of the blocks

Omagh came out of the blocks quickly when Lee Murphy slotted over a penalty following an Instonians offside to take a 3-0 lead in the first minute playing with the wind and hill in the opening half.

The Belfast side showed why they have been league leaders for so long with a well drilled pack and creative backs going through their phases and asking plenty of questions. Strong early defence, well organised and cleverly no over committing at the breakdown kept the visitors at bay, while Ryan Mitchell, who impressed in attack and defence, put in a good cover tackle to halt an early attack.

With plenty of intent, the home side looked to play an expansive game but accidental offside and passes just not to hand stopped their early offence, though the Shaw's Bridge side remained dangerous with their Argentinian number eight at the heart of their attacking moves and phases.

With the game nip and tuck for the first half hour, the home side were awarded a penalty following a counter-attack started by Beckett and carried on by the impressive Mervyn Edgar, though Murphy pulled his effort wide.

Omagh were on the ascendancy at this stage and scored a try from a massive team effort. Though the ball carriers such as James Catterson Jamie Sproule made good years going forward, the cleaning out and counter rucking by John Sproule, Richard Hemphill and Adam Longwell was impressive, though the pack as a unit worked impressively hard.

From a turnover won by counter rucking, the ball had been moved across the pitch and went through several phases before being spun open with Edgar in the backline. He fed Scott Barr and the centre went round his opposite number sprinting for the line before being hauled down a few yards short. He slipped the ball inside but could not be secured by the maurading support.

The Instonians fullback won back possession but was stopped dead in his tracks by a great hit from Neil MacLaine. Jarred loose by the tackle, the ball slipped back over the try line with the alert Edgar on hand to touch down for an opportunist try but one which owed everything to great commitment by the Accies. Murphy added the conversion. Half time 10-0.



The Belfast side showed their mettle from the start of the second period, getting the upper hand in the scrum and from a well drilled lineout catch and drive caught Omagh offside resulting in a penalty which was duly dispatched to pull back three points.

Omagh won the resulting kick-off and looked to respond immediately but were felled by some strong tackling by the Shaw's Bridge team, though they were not to be denied soon after.

A move started by a break by Jamie Sproule saw Omagh awarded a penalty which Murphy stroked over to restore the 10 point lead after 55 minutes though the fireworks were still to come.

From the restart Instonians played for territory in the Omagh half. They secured clean lineout ball with their centre searing through the defence only to be denied on the Omagh line from a fine cover tackle by Beckett. Although they had a penalty advantage, Instonians went for the try but were denied by Brown and then Catterson before the referee blew for the penalty and sent Beckett to the sin bin for 10 minutes.

Electing to scrum, the Belfast side flexed their muscles and went for the pushover, Stewart McCain looked to dive in as the ball crossed the line but the referee awarded the penalty score with the conversion added to leave the score 13-10 to Omagh.

Omagh responded positively, won another re-start, attacking some fine lobs by Murphy and looked to play the blindside and eat up some time but were dashed when Instonians cleared downfield and then won the lineout when Brown was adjudged to have stepped in touch following a McCain snipe round the blindside.

The Instonians scrum half made an incisive break from the following lineout and though he was halted short of the line, he threw a very flat pass to the supporting hooker, and though he juggled the ball, had the momentum to fall over the line. The conversion was added for the visitors to take the lead 17-13 as the game entered its last 15 minutes.


Home crowd

With the big home crowd baying for more, Omagh responded, Catterson again cleaned up some ball rescued on the back foot. Few chances went begging as Omagh camped in the Belfast sides 22, with Barr going close on an arcing run, but were not to be denied. Time and time they attacked through the pack until one too many infringements saw the visitors reduced to 14 men.

Omagh opted for the scrum but were stopped short of the gain line, but refusing to panic, the Accies regrouped, and went through phases down the blindside before moving open again. They were awarded another penalty as time was running out in the top left hand corner, secured the lineout and drove. Time and time they pummelled the Instonians line with McCain and Mark Hopton-Brown going close and with time elapsed, McCain fed Murphy.

The out-half then threw an outrageous double miss pass to Beckett out wide with the fullback putting the head down and diving over for a fantastic try and one which could prove very important as the season evolves over the next few weeks. The conversion was missed but it mattered little to the jubilant faithful in County Tyrone as the referee blew for full time and a great four points for the home side.

Next up for Omagh is a midweek match against Ards on Tuesday night at 7.45pm.

Team: Alistair Beckett, Ryan Mitchell, Scott Barr, Neil MacLaine, Neil Brown, Lee Murphy, Stewart McCain, Kyle Alexander (c), Richard Hemphill, David Thompson, John Sproule, Jamie Sproule, Mervyn Edgar, Adam Longwell, James Catterson

Subs: Mark Hopton-Brown, Scott Elliott.


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