Kukri Rugby Championship Section 2
CIYMS 16, Limavady 17
A very economical Limavady handed neighbours Coleraine the initiative in the race for the one automatic promotion spot from Championship Two following a surprise, but fully deserved, victory on a crisp autumn Saturday afternoon at Belmont Road.
Three visits to their opponents ‘22’ resulted in three scores as the promotion race to Championship One was blown wide open. Previously unbeaten CIYMS had blown away all before them this season as Limavady were still adjusting to life following last season’s promotion.
CIYMS were rocked during the week when their out-half and former Ulster player, James McKinney, left for Jersey and his absence showed as their backline lacked a cutting edge despite being given countless opportunities from a pack that held the upper hand.
Limavady’s backline received some rave reviews in last year’s unbeaten league season and on 10 minutes they showed they could operate at a higher level as skipper Robert Lamberton made a break down the left. His kick ahead was gathered by Mark Woods whose off-load was gathered by No 8 Sam Mackey who crashed over with Peter Wilson adding the conversion
The rest of the half belonged to the home side but a combination of poor handling and a ferocious defence from the visitors meant they had to rely on their scrum-half to kick three penalties for a 9-7 lead.
The second half began in a similar fashion to the first, with the visitors on the attack and once again when Limavady moved the ball out wide they found joy. Winger Mark Woods broke down the right, beating three men for the game’s second major score. Again Wilson added the conversion and the Roesiders were back in front
Another missed CIYMS penalty meant Limavady still led 14-9 but CI were eventually rewarded for their efforts when their centre went over for a well deserved try. With the conversion added, CI were in control.
The CI pack were on top but a turnover saw Wilson make a break and though he found himself isolated and lacking support, a smart kick into the corner maintained the momentum.
A serious injury to the CI scrum-half saw play held up for 25 minutes with aLimavady scrum in the CI ‘22’ geting play underway again. From it Limavady won a penalty which Wilson kicked to regain the lead at 17-16.
There were still eight minutes left and the home side went all out to claim the victory that would have kept them joint top of the league.
With their first choice kicker off injured, centre Burns stopped up ut saw his effort just fall to the right of the post.
The onslaught from CI continued and on the last play they got another chance to claim a win, this time from a much easier position, but again Burns saw his kick drift to the right and Limavady held on to claim a valuable win.
Next up for the Roesiders is Larne at home on December 3rd.
Limavady: Peter Wilson, Mark Woods, Chris Hunter, Jamie Millar, Robert Lamberton, Matthew Haslett, Jamie Millar. Reginal Squires, Daniel Irvine, John McCollum, Michael Rice, Richard McCollum, D. Houston, Perry Semple, Sam Mackey. Subs: John Purcell and Jason Kerr.