1st XV Strabane Home
Lisburn Overcome Strabane on their Debut
Lisburn 38 - Strabane 12
The Smiley Monroe sponsored Lisburn overcame a game Strabane team making their debut in the Qualifying Two league at Blaris last Saturday. With two changes to th d de team that had drawn with Academy the previous week – Stuart Evans coming in, following injury, to replace the also injured Mark Hill at No 8, and David Gilkinson at inside centre joining his two prop brothers, Mark and Aaron, Lisburn were keen to get their first league win of the season. Strabane, powered by another trio of players from the same family, Adam, Aaron and Timmy Cummings, were an unknown quantity as this was the first fixture between the two clubs in current memory.
Strabane started like a whirlwind and put the home team under severe pressure during the first ten minutes of the game during which they failed to score, despite a penalty attempt in front of the posts. Lisburn then made exactly the same error but compensated a few minutes later when centre David Gilkinson broke a tackle to score under the posts which Mark Crowe converted. Within minutes Lisburn stretched their lead to twelve points when a loose ball was hacked upfield and outhalf Ross Edgar ran onto it to score.
The game then settled down into good competitive phases of play which saw both teams running the ball at every opportunity in the excellent conditions. Stuart Evans was driving the Lisburn pack forward with some great charges and the Strabane backs were being unloosed regularly by their halfbacks Timmy Cummings and Brian Allen. Five minutes before the interval whistle, David Gilkinson again created havoc in the Strabane defence when he drew in the defenders to put winger Reece Symonds over in the corner to bring up seventeen points.
Five minutes into the second half Lisburn registered their bonus point for a fourth try when centre Crowe fixed the Strabane defence in open play to put fullback Owen Hilary over the line and Crowe again converted. Shortly afterwards Lisburn put themselves into an unassailable position when, following a penalty into the corner, they won the ensuing lineout and Captain Pete Graham was on hand to take the run around and score. Crowe converted to make it 31-0.
While the game was out of sight at this stage, Strabane nevertheless did not give up trying and were rewarded at the end of the third quarter with a well taken try in a two on two situation. The conversion gave them seven points but they then shot themselves in the foot with a dropped ball and right winger Nick Kennedy was up fast to gather it and put centre David Gilkinson in for his second score. The Crowe conversion made it 38-7. On the final whistle Strabane got a further consolation try in the corner to make the final score 38-12. While Lisburn will be happy with their bonus point win, Strabane will be left to reflect on their first experience in Qualifying League 2. This being their first game of the year, they will surely get better as the season progresses and should not be too despondent. The greater experience of the young Lisburn team was obvious in comparison but they will improve as they build up to a harder and speedier game. Next Saturday, Lisburn take on Carrick in another home game.