Coping with elements a key factor
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.