Cop­ing with el­e­ments a key fac­tor

Bray People - - Sport -

Ark­low 6, Rath­drum 9: Whichever team made most use of the pre­vail­ing weather stood the best chance of winning this derby match.

So it turned out the rain and wind made or­tho­dox play very dif­fi­cult so the boot had to be the pre­ferred way of mov­ing the ball when the wind was at your back. Rath­drum started with the wind and put it to good use by keep­ing Ark­low pinned in and around their 22 me­tre area.

Both sides tried at times to move the ball out their re­spec­tive back­line from first phase pos­ses­sion un­der very windy and wet weather. Af­ter ten min­utes both sides were at three points each with Rath­drum the more dom­i­nant team.

Dur­ing the in­ces­sant rain Ark­low were able to break out of their half of the pitch with good driv­ing mauls and by their run­ning backs try­ing to move the ball up the field.

For the next twenty min­utes the play was mostly in the Ark­low half of the pitch but not in the dan­ger area. Once Ark­low were pe­nalised for an in­nocu­ous penalty, the Rath­drum out­half kicked a good penalty to lead six points to three ap­proach­ing half-time.

Not an in­sur­mount­able lead, if the score line could be main­tained un­til the forty min­utes were up. But Ark­low were in a gen­er­ous mood and con­ceded a need­less penalty at their own 22 me­tre line which was con­verted now the score­line was a more dif­fi­cult nine points to three in favour of Rath­drum.

Ark­low now had the wind and we could ex­pect the game to be played in the Rath­drum half of the pitch in­stead Ark­low were pinned back on their own try line de­fend­ing bravely and con­ceded no score and lifted the siege.

The play now moved slowly through the mid­dle of the pitch by Ark­low but could not stay in the Rath­drum dan­ger ar­eas long enough to get a penalty or a line out close to their try line.

The game re­mained around the mid­dle of the field for long pe­ri­ods with Rath­drum know­ing how to slow down the ball from ruck and maul. Ark­low fi­nally were awarded a kick­able penalty which the Ark­low num­ber ten struck very well and con­verted.

This promised a good last ten min­utes and could have seen ei­ther side score penal­ties. Ark­low’s num­ber ten nar­rowly missed with a drop goal late in the game.

Ark­low con­tin­ued to put pres­sure on the Rath­drum try line but could not make the fi­nal foot to cross the line. So it ended with both sides giv­ing of their best. This was a tough match to lose as there was not much separat­ing both sides, both sides played good rugby backs and for­wards and Rath­drum coped bet­ter with the rain and wind and had a bet­ter penalty con­ver­sion ra­tio.

Team from: J. Louth (C), A. Plun­kett, T. O. Scan­naill, M.O Neill, A. Louth, K. Stein­back, P Van Es­beck, M. Van Es­beck, M. Ka­vanagh, R McCormack, J. But­ter­worth, S. Vig­ors, C. Hughes, S. O Neill, B. Guil­foyle, E. Clancy, T. P. Prestage.

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