No joy for ’Stones at Malone
GENERAL SPORT RUGBY, HOCKEY, ORIENTEERING AND GOLF
Malone 16, Greystones 10: Greystones had only ever beaten Malone once before last Saturday’s game at Gibson Park and on a rain sodden pitch they once again came up short.
Malone had put 68 points on Queens last weekend but on this occasion, although winning the game, they only won with a six points margin.
The game itself was as bad as the weather, with both side committing cardinal errors, with poor continuity, poor handling and turnovers aplenty.
Malone’s outhalf, Gareth Fry, was given the first opportunity to open the scoring on five minutes with a relatively easy penalty kick but he pushed it wide of the posts. Five minutes later,and once again in a good position, he failed, with the ball going once again wide of the mark.
On twenty minutes Stones scrum-half Dave Popplewell fell awkwardly while releasing the ball from a scrum and although he tried to shake it off he was replaced by Declan Griffen.Their problems were added to ten minutes later when tight-head prop Stephen Snell had to be replaced by Kevin Moes.
With fifteen minutes to go in the half, Stones created a break from inside their own twenty-two with fullback Dave Mc Kechnie charging out of defence and making thirty metres before passing outside to wing Mark Geraghty who carried it on, finding hooker Jason Harris-Wright, who almost made the line but was tackled just short.
Stones then had to defend on their own line for a long period and were penalised on three occasions with the referee then yellow carding Harris-Wright for offside. This time Fry made no mistake with the kick to put them into a three-point lead.
Greystones then had further problems when centre Aaron Higgs left the field with a shoulder injury being replaced by Damian Wildes with a shuffle in the backline which saw Geraghty move to centre.
Almost immediately, Geraghty inspired a good move down the right hand side with James Power taking a good ball.Ten metres out from the Malone line,with his men covered, he tried a grubber kick which went off the foot of Malone’s fullback Peter Bard, however the bounce was kind with wing Ronan Carroll picking up and running in the short distance for the try, which Power converted to put the visitors into a 10-3 lead at the break.
The second period started well for Stones, as on five minutes, Power delivered a sweet drop goal to increase the lead to 10-3 but alas that was to be the end of the Stones scoring.
Greystones discipline then let them down, conceding two silly penalties almost in quick succession, with Fry being on target to narrow the Greystones lead to a single point. The Stones scrum was now under some pressure and when Malone were awarded a scrum five metres out, it collapsed on two occasions, while on the third occasion the referee awarded a penalty try which Fry converted to put them into a lead they held until the end.
However the game was almost pillaged by the visitors at the death when the Greystones pack camped on the home team’s line and after three or four efforts, it seemed that Harris-Wright had scored when he was driven over, but the referee signalled that he could not see it touched down and so awarded a scrum, however the ball came out to quickly with Malone’s No 13, Johnny Burgess hacking it clear to his own twenty-two.
Next week and on the road again this time to Clonakilty.