1st XV Academy Away
Lisburn Overcome Academy in Tight Encounter
Lisburn 24 – Academy 11
In a tight encounter last Saturday the Smiley Monroe sponsored Lisburn overcame a buoyant Academy side that were at that point sitting third in the Qualifying League Two table. After many weeks of horrible playing conditions the teams eventually got a dry day with a firm sod and the players revelled in it. The opening exchanges were frenetic to say the least and the first points went to Academy with a penalty from scrumhalf Kenny after seven minutes. Crothers responded shortly afterwards with a similar effort but it was Academy who first crossed the line after they worked the ball up the touchline and outstanding flanker Richard Henderson was on hand to get possession and tap the ball down in the corner. Almost from the restart, the Lisburn captain and hooker Peter Graham transgressed and earned the referee’s wrath with a yellow card but the home team upped the ante and began to play some superb rugby. Within five minutes, some great surges by the pack, in which props Mark and Aaron Gilkinson, second row Andy Barron and back rowers Stewart Evans and Matt Edgar were prominent, led to a stream of possession and half backs Chris Knox and Ross Edgar put their three-quarter line into space at every opportunity. On 35 minutes Nick Kennedy was at the end of a well-worked overlap and the big winger ran in for the score. Eight points each.
The second half started with both sides showing renewed urgency and this led to numerous occasions when tempers frayed. Academy went into the lead again after five minutes from a Kenny penalty but it was shortlived as Lisburn centre Mark Crothers then kicked two excellent penalties from the ten metre line in front of the posts to go into a 14-11 lead. With the tightness of the game tempers frayed on numerous occasions and the sin bin became a busy place as yellow cards were brandished by the referee, two to Lisburn and one to Academy. The game then opened up and the crowd were treated to a great contest as both teams threw the ball about in probing each other’s defences. The key moment arrived five minutes from time following an error by the Academy backs in failing to deal with a Lisburn kick ahead and winger Kennedy was up fast again to get possession and run in for the simple score. Crothers converted and then copper fastened the outcome with another penalty on the final whistle. 24-11 to Lisburn. Next Saturday Lisburn travel to Randalstown where they will attempt to redress the earlier defeat by the Gary Longwell coached outfit.