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Donaghadee second win of season moves them off the bottom


Running ahead: Donaghadee’s Adam Alexander breaks through the CIYMS defence at Belmont

Running ahead: Donaghadee’s Adam Alexander breaks through the CIYMS defence at Belmont

Running ahead: Donaghadee’s Adam Alexander breaks through the CIYMS defence at Belmont

Donaghadee hauled themselves off the bottom of Kukri Qualifying One with a spirited 24-10 win over CIYMS at Belmont on Saturday.

It was just their second victory of the season - the other also coming against Saturday's opponents - and was the perfect response to the previous week's disappointing home defeat to fellow strugglers Ballymoney.

Elsewhere on Saturday, eighth-placed Cooke beat Dromore, while Ballymoney picked up a losing bonus point in defeat to Clogher Valley, results which leave the bottom three separated by just eight points.

Speaking after the win, Donaghadee player/coach Paul McKenzie admitted that recent results have been curious.

"We beat CI a few weeks ago, then lost to Dromore and Ballymoney, then won today. I suppose it's indicative of the type of league it is; everybody is beating everybody.

"We really turned up today and it was pleasing. We feel we've been progressing so it was nice to get a bit of a reward.

"We've one or two registered boys who are back from uni at the minute and a few back from injury so that made a big difference."

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Having taken an early lead, Donaghadee were pegged back in the second-half, and trailed 14-10 with a quarter of the game remaining, before two tries sealed the win to the delight of McKenzie.

He added: "Ever since I came to the club, one thing that has never been questioned has been the character of the people. We do tend to stick in for 80 minutes, even though it's been a hard season for us and you saw that today."

The visitors led with less than five minutes on the clock when they utilised what was to prove a devastating rolling maul for the first time and Matthew Stockton touched down.

Mark Cooper added the conversion and the underdogs had a 7-0 headstart.

Five minutes later, a good jackal by Peter Raine brought a penalty but, after Andy Hodgen kicked for the corner and Ross Hackney claimed the lineout, the ball was turned over in the maul.

It was to be a passage of play systematic of CI's afternoon as they failed to take their chances.

It could have been much worse for the hosts if it wasn't for a pair of misses off the tee in the space of two minutes by Cooper.

Eight minutes before half-time, however, the outside centre did connect with a penalty attempt from between the halfway and 10 metre lines to make it a two-score game.

CI responsed before the interval, however, when coach Gareth Fry - forced into action at fly-half -worked the ball out to Paddy Aiken on the left wing and the lock had both the strength and pace to drive his way over the line. Fry impressively nailed the sideline conversion to leave the score 10-7 at half-time.

Five minutes after the resumption, CI had their first lead of the day with Fry involved again, this time his clever inside ball finding the good line by centre Phil McVitty who scored underneath the posts.

Cooper had a chance to reduce the deficit he again chipped a penalty wide of the posts.

It proved to be a blessing in disguise, however, as the next time Dee won a penalty within range, they opted to kick for the corner and, again, CI had no answer for the rolling maul and, when the referee adjudged that it had been halted illegally, a penalty try was awarded.

With 10 minutes remaining, Fry's men looked set to retake the lead when Neil Wallace showed excellent hands to gather a pass fired into his chest and skip past two tacklers but he offloaded to McVitty who was prevented from adding his second score of the day only by an excellent tap tackle.

CI still drove forward and from a five-metre scrum, Michael Wilson darted to the blindside and released Andy Hodgen. The fullback seemed set for the corner only to be foiled by a determined tackle by substitute Adam Lowry.

It would prove a critical intervention because, with five minutes left, Adam Alexander powered his way over the line after some eye-catching interplay from the Dee backs to seal the victory

The remainder of the game was spent with Dee chasing an unlikely bonus point but, even though it did not arrive, the final whistle still brought deserved celebrations and a valuable four points.



Belfast Telegraph

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