Bruff kicked off their first round of the division two AIL with a fabulous 35 points to 12 defeat of Instonians in Shaw’s Bridge. It was one of those days where you wondered whether the teams would be able to be distinguished from each other after the kickoff when about two hours before kickoff we saw the heavens open, before we even crossed the border. It stayed like that the whole way through.
Just before the lads dismounted from the Hynan chariot we were treated to one of the best pre-season orations I have ever heard (Courtesy of Derry) and the lads walked off the bus to face into the new season fired up to the last.
Surrounded by generations of rugby players from a club steeped in history, Blazers from quite a few generations were on show, we were treated to a very decent meal, a few bevvies and just before kickoff we braved the semi covered veranda to watch our boys come out onto the pitch. Game On.
At this point I have to say how delighted I was to see that the Bruff travelling Horde (Having travelled up on the day by bus) had installed themselves under the cover of the Rain shelter on the veranda and I was not to be disappointed with the vocal nature of their support. The first half started with a storm blowing onto the faces of the Bruff side. Bruff opened their account with a penalty by David Maw, Instonians replied, Davy kicked another, Instonians replied Bruff went Nine 6 up, Instonians returned the favour to go 9 all and then following a lineout about five meters out from the Instonians line the Bruff pack pushed over for try number one, John Shine claiming the grounding. Instonians replied with two more penalties to allow Bruff to go into the dressing rooms (Or try as The Instonian Ex Pres. told us afterwards that he had arranged for them to be locked, the lads didn’t mind, They were out of the rain in the corridor anyway, Instonians stayed out in the downpour. 🙂 ) Gamesmanship taken to the nth degree.
Half time saw Bruff leading by 14 points to 12. Four minutes before the whistle, the Instonians Hooker and Captain Wilbur Leacock was binned for persistent fouling. Alfie Laffan followed him to the whitewash two minutes later for striking, which to be honest was a bit over the top, it was a case literally (Although I know how it sounds J ) of the Instonians player walking into his arm.
Five minutes in to the second half Davy Maw fired out a fabulous looping pass over the heads of all of the Instonians back line straight into the hands of Paul O’ Brien who then left with only his opposite number to beat, managed to burn him on the outside to make try number two in the corner, Davy Maw adding the extras. Bruff at 21 points to 12 looked very comfortable on the ball. The pack dominating at the breakdown, carrying the ball and Scrummaging Instonians off their own ball five times. The Instonians winger was binned for god knows what, we couldn’t figure it out from where we stood, and neither could the Instonians guys alongside us. Try Number three came from a switched dummy pass from Davy Maw who cut a reverse to Brendan Deady storming into the line. Brendan broke two tackles before crossing the whitewash. The next six or seven minutes saw the only pressure in the second half from Instonians and the only period where Bruff had to defend inside their own half. The bonus point came with 8 minutes to go when Brian Cahill finally was given the touchdown on his second crossing of the try-line, a previous effort blown for a knock-on before the line. Davy again added the extras and Bruff closed out the game finishing 35 points to 12.
All in all a great weekend, we paid the statutory visit to Betty in the Phoenix Bar on the way up, followed by a day marred only by the weather and a pernickety referee who lived by the rulebook and over-imposed himself on the game to it’s detriment. It wasn’t a day for that to be honest. It should have been all about the game rather than the man in the middle, but again the ELV’s are new to everyone and by the time we all figure them out, referees and Players alike, they may well be dropped.
By the way when you see the photos it’s not photo grain, it’s the rain……….
Bruff :Four tries, three conversions, two penalties: 35
Bruff scores: Tries: John Shine, Paul O’ Brien, Brendan Deady, Brian Cahill. David Maw 3 conv & 2 Pens.
Instonians: Four penalties, 12.