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Strangford College, Newtownards

Rugby Success

24th Jun 2021

After another good week where we are very proud to announce two more sponsors of Strangford College Rugby Club. As well as a fantastic performance and result for our extended Year 9 squad. The scene was set for a match against Regent House with all the stops being pulled out as the pitch was being freshly relined, nothing but the best for our lot! This is nothing new to our sponsors Adam Mckee of ‘Ballyblack Contracts’ and Ross Torney of ‘Peninsula Construction’, both of whom are former pupils and rugby players of Strangford College. We are delighted to have them on board.

The teams arrived eager to get started and with seniors around during lunch they were only too happy to contributing to the pre-match build up. From the start, this match had something most others this season hadn’t - a crowd – thanks to the decision from the College’s Core Leadership Team. 

Jay C was rewarded for his hard work and excellent attitude in class and training by being named as captain and he did not disappoint. Jay stepped up to the mark, met the Regent captain and decisively choose to receive, laying down the gauntlet to Regent in Typical Jay fashion :)

The whistle blew and we were off for the club’s first and last home game of the season. Regent got the first try with a brilliant chip and chase, which served as a wake up call that Strangford were up against strong opposition. There was a lot of learning on the go for both sets of players with neither squad having played a full 15 game before, but players like Ryan G showed their experience helping to organise others and consistently asking for the ball to make strong carries. Strangford bounced back from the early setback with brothers Lewis P and Ethan P fearlessly making strong tackles, Rhys D showing his strength and speed in attack and Finlay Y tackling hard and fast. This helped to gain an advantage, scoring their first try and Ben McCo stepped up to impressively slot the extras.

Regent came back strong to score another unconverted try but the Strangfordians did not give up as that’s not in their nature. After some good work in the backs, Ben N spotted a gap and took it,  getting so close to the whitewash but got tackled into touch with only metres to go. Strangford stayed switched on and they nabbed a crucial second try and conversion to go into the break, leading 14-12. 

The team talks were had at half time and boys full of confidence were eager to take on the feedback from coaches Stevie Nutt and John West who were excellent in managing the team. 

The second half started with some great work from both teams, with tackles flying in from Jake N, Ashton R, Danny B and Philip who deserves special mention for successfully bringing down players twice his size!

With confidence on the up, Strangford were happier with ball in hand. The forwards began to learn their role of making the hard yards with Keil H, Ben McCr Bobby P and Micah N carrying ball well and gaining more ground as they grew in confidence. This allowed the backs to identify gaps, tearing through the Regent defence  and scoring two unconverted tries. Momentum was in Strangford’s favour and full of confidence, Jake N made a break for the try line to score. Regent were adamant he hadn’t grounded the ball but after a quick consultation with the TMO (the camera angels were inconclusive, so stuck with on field decision), the try was awarded.

Strangford learned a hard lesson in the final stages of the game, with complacency creeping in as they switched off, allowing Regent in for a quick-fire double. Jay and his team showed great resilience however, taking back the initiative and making progress towards the Regent line, only to lose the ball forward in a strong tackle from a Regent defender. 

As the match drew to a close, Strangford once again found themselves under pressure but dealt with it well before closing out the game to edge a competitive Regent House squad. 

In the true spirit of rugby, win, lose or draw, the boys lined up to give 3 cheers for Regent and an elbow bump (no tunnel… COVID!! 

😩). Many thanks to the Players, Coaches and Parents of both sides for their commitment and dedication to get to this stage of what has been a very difficult season. No doubt this will not be the last match and we look forward to playing again after summer! 

Many of these boys will remember their first game for many years to come!