Another packed weekend of fixtures for all Portadown teams led to a range of results, read about them below!
This top of the table league game was played under the Friday night floodlights at Chambers Park with the calm conditions perfect for rugby and for the large crowd who came to watch the boy’s play. The young Portadown side knew this particular match would prove a huge challenge to them, having lost heavily to the same side in a friendly match some four weeks ago. They were however, keen to prove just how far they have improved as a team in the few weeks since.
It was maybe no surprise that Clogher started the match the more confident of the two sides, and quickly gained a foothold in the Portadown 22’. Their strong ball carriers in the pack and their impressive inside centre repeatedly ran with real intent at the Portadown defence, but quickly found out that this young Portadown side were in no mood to give any ground. It was Clogher though that scored the games opening try, having been awarded a penalty five metres from the Portadown line, were able to crash over for a converted try. This only proved the catalyst to spark the Portadown attack into life, and it was they that then put the Clogher defence to the test, with the Portadown pack really asserting themselves on the match with some impressive running and line breaks. Eventually the pressure told, with Dainton Walker, playing his first match at scrum half, able to score from a pick and go near the Clogher line. Eldon McDonald was very unlucky with the conversion coming back off the post.
The match continued in the same vein, with Portadown’s defence really putting the Clogher players under huge pressure, though in doing so they allowed themselves to be penalised for simple infringements, and it was from one of these penalties that allowed Clogher the field position to once again take the lead, driving over the line to extend their lead to 12-5. As the game went on however, it became obvious that the young Portadown players were starting to really believe that they were more than a match for their Clogher counterparts, and it was they who scored next, with Walker once again scoring after some lovely elusive running to touch down to make the score 12-10 at the half.
Half Time Portadown 10 – 12 Clogher
The second half saw Portadown come of age as a side. Clogher started to wilt under the pressure the Portadown pack placed them under at every set piece, where they were utterly dominant in the scrum with Finlay Ramsey stealing several against the head, as well as putting the Clogher lineout under huge pressure, thus forcing them into mistakes. In the backs, Ted McQuitty and Ryan Moore made some impressive tackles on their opposite numbers, but it was the tackling of wing Junior Dabo that really stood out on the night, with the young wing putting in some huge tackles on much larger opponents. Finlay Ramsey was now revelling in the physicality of the match and it was his running with ball in hand, along with James Beattie and Lewis McCullough, that gave the backs the platform to score the try the gave Portadown the lead they would never relinquish, with Edward Lages scoring in the corner. Portadown rounded off the match with the best score of the evening, with replacement prop Justin Braga showing off his passing skills, much to the delight of the crowd, to put wing Luke Stewart in to score to leave the final score Portadown 22 – 12 Clogher.
The result leaves Portadown top of the league at the half way mark. Head Coach Matthew Potts was full of praise for his young side after the match “Firstly I have to thank Clogher for playing their part in a game that was a real advert for junior rugby, but I can’t say enough about the character, heart and will to win of this Portadown side. To turn a 40-point loss into a win tonight shows just how hard they have worked in training the past three weeks”.
Men’s 1st XV
It was Junior Cup day at Chamber’s Park as Portadown hosted Cooke in the first Cup Fixture of the 2021/22 season. It was windy and changable conditions throughout the game which led to back-and-forth action between both sides.
As game kicked off, Cooke took the advantage of Portadown’s slow start and scored two converted tries before the home team could get into the game, but after this rude awakening, the hosts started to play.
Portadown’s strong set piece allowed them to take a foothold in Cooke’s 22 which, after another strong scrum, allowed Centre Marshall Clint to crash over to leave the score 7 to 14
Cooke responded with another of their own but with a dominant Lineout, Portadown responded as they mauled over the line to allow Captain Rab Reid to touch down.
With both teams starting to play with the ball ,the pace and action was up and down the the pitch at Chamber’s park, with tries from both sides. Portadown’s back line was constantly in action, as the forwards dominated collisions to provide front foot ball for the back’s pace to get around the Cooke Defensive line which led to Marshall Clint touching down with another meat pie for the Blues. This kept them within touching distance of the Belfast team, now 19-36. Spurred on by a great crowd,Portadown started to believe that they could win this, with a try from Willie Graham narrowing the margin again to 26-36. With this, another good break from the back line, saw Matty Neill touch down under the posts. With the conversion being kicked, the final whistle blew, and Portadown knew that their slow start was the defining difference between the two squads as the final score being 31-36. With the Junior Cup run now over, focus returns to the League next week for the Men’s 1st XV as they host Grosvenor in a key fixture.
Mens’ 3rd XV
In a very windy afternoon at Chambers Park, Virginia 2s travelled up to face a Portadown 3s side in a friendly. Virginia started the game well and had a lot of possession and territory with the benefit of the strong wind behind them. It took Portadown a while to settle and get into their stride with O’Kane getting on the scoresheet followed up by a well worked try that Joe Partridge finished off in the corner. 10 nil to the Blues at the end of a scrappy first half. Portadown started the 2nd half a lot more brightly with Partridge, Hollywood, Whitten and Montels all crossing the line to score during the half. Conversions being struck from various sources, with Kelly, O’Kane, Whitten and Partridge being successful. Thanks to Hampton, Purdy, Trimble and Gibson who all went across to help out Virginia at various stages as they lost a couple of players. It was great to have such a big squad out with the 3s with many making their debuts for the season. The game finished with the a Portadown front row having a combined age of 139 years with Caldwell, Thompson and Milligan. Final score 43 nil.
Ladies 1st XV
Sunday 24th October
Portadown Ladies were on the road to play Ballynahinch Ladies in a league game and with a prompt kick off at 1pm, both teams got stuck in. However it wasn’t long before Hinch went wide and scored their first try of the game within the first 5 mins. Portadown stepped up and we saw some fierce playing from our Ladies after they won their first line out of the game however they just missed out when another try was scored by Hinch taking the score 10-0 to Hinch.
The first half continued to be a battle of good rugby with line outs and scrums. Portadown Ladies showed great strength in their first scrum of the game by winning the ball however Hinch managed to steal possession and proceeded to score another few tries and converting one making the score 27-0. Our Ladies played some fantastic rugby towards the end of the first half, really pushing back on the opposition and gaining possession of the ball however the Hinch defence was tough to break through.
Portadown Ladies pressed on and won a few more scrums however Hinch kept gaining ground making their way towards the try line but fortunately it just wasn’t to be and our Ladies secured a goal line kick which saw the girls pick up the pace and proceed to put Hinch back in place. A Hinch line out saw us up to half time. Score 27-0 Hinch.
Second half commenced and our Ladies really showed the Hinch side what they were made of. Hinch soon knew there was a fight on their hands however it was a wide run again which saw Hinch score another try – 32-0
Another try from Hinch and not long after this which was followed by a yellow card for one of their own due to flying elbows but our girls remained strong and fierce really pushing the Hinch side back. The Ladies put into play some great work which they have been practicing in training and we really saw them come together and work as a team. The Ladies showed great skill and use of the ball with exceptional passing to out do the opposition – this was fantastic to see. 37-0 Hinch
As the game was drawing to an end, the injuries were beginning to pick up from both teams. Hinch managed to steal again from a line out. The Portadown Ladies really were amazing at holding Hinch back from the try line but it just wasn’t to be and the score was 42-0 with conversion making it Hinch 44 – Portadown Ladies 0.
Both teams played a great match with some fantastic tackling from our Ladies who really showed Hinch what they were made of. The score really does not reflect on just how well our girls played. Very proud of them all!
Our Player of the Match was Alex Totts!