- Result: Galwegians Firsts 28 - Queens University 0
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Nov 2nd 2013
- Competition: AIL Division 2A
Galwegians made a serious statement of intent when they blew away a much fancied Queens University team in this Ulster Bank Division 2a fixture at a wind and rainswept Crowley park on Saturday.
The visitors from Belfast came into this game in third place after an impressive start to their season, but at the end of the contest it is Wegians who now command third place, and sending the students tumbling down into the bottom half of the League table in the process.
The conditions were not conducive to free-flowing rugby with a vicious cross wind that played havoc all day. It slightly favoured the visitors who had the first chance to draw blood with a 3rd minute penalty, but out-half Ritchie McMaster misjudged the difficult breeze and pulled his effort just wide. The powerful Wegians pack soon began to exert their influence on proceedings, and their dominance led to the opening score of the game in the 13th minute. It came following a clean lineout take by Brian McClearn near the corner, and another trademark rolling maul resulted in flanker Eddie Earle peeling off to ground the ball over the line for the opening try, which was unconverted.
Queens had a chance to get right back into the game when sloppy play from Wegians gifted them a 5 metre lineout from the restart. And although they secured their own lineout, the students could not make any inroads against a resolute Blues defence. The hosts then went on to dominate the remainder of the opening half, with their formidable scrum causing the visitors all sorts of problems.
Another scrum penalty allowed out-half Ross Shaughnessy extend the lead to 8-0 on 27 minutes, and five minutes later the Blues scored their second try. It followed an excellent blockdown by skipper Brian McClearn which led to a Queens scrum on their 5metre line. Cue another powerful surge by the Blues to shove the hapless students backwards at a rate of nots, giving scrum-half Barry Lee the chance to snaffle the ball and snipe over near the left corner. Shaughnessy missed the difficult conversion, and although Queens had chances to score just before half-time, the Blues held their line, with McMaster missing another late penalty effort to leave it 13-0 to the hosts at the break.
Wegians kicked on in the second-half as they set about making the game safe. Once again the platform was provided by the forwards, led by a formidable front five with prop Doran McHugh particularly impressive in both the tight and loose. More pressure led to a second Shaughnessy penalty in front of the posts to stretch their advantage to 16-0 on 50 minutes. Armed with this comfortable lead, the Blues began to open up and play more expansive rugby, and five minutes later they were rewarded with the try of the game. It owed much to the deft running and handling of centre Jerome Harrimate, who combined beautifully with winger Colin Conroy to send full-back John Cleary clear to dive over near the right-hand corner for try number three.
Shaughnessy converted for good measure to put the Blues out of sight at 23-0, and there was to be no let-up for the luckless visitors as their hosts went for the jugular. They were rewarded when the fourth try duly arrived in the 65th minute, and not surprisingly it came following another powerful 5 metre scrum, this time replacement scrum-half Caolin Blade darting over near the left to seal the bonus point.
The game then petered out to its inevitable conclusion, and not even two late sin-binnings for Wegians afforded any respite to the students who were unable to breach the home defence whose impressive defensive effort was rewarded with a shutout.
This result means Wegians were the big movers in the Division, jumping into third place and lying just three behind early leaders Ballymena. The Blues now face a three-week break until they resume League action at home to bottom-of-the-table Highfield on November 23rd.