The University of Ulster, Coleraine finally ended a long run of defeats with victory over promotion chasing Donaghadee RFC with a hard fought and well deserved 17-3 win.
It was the home side who took command from the kick off with the students bossing the breakdown area and keeping the rumbling forwards of Donaghadee at bay. It was however the away side who registered the first points of the game for an infringement at the ruck and Dee converted the penalty to give them three points. The students responded well putting phase after phase together with their forwards doing most of the work they were awarded for their efforts with a penalty themselves. However, Gareth Miller missed the difficult conversion from the left side of the field to leave the visitors with the lead.
UUC tightened their grip on the game and some fancy footwork and quick thinking from Lee Murphy allowed himself to race through the Donaghadee defence only to be pushed into touched as he went over in the corner. The students were finally awarded for their efforts when a great series of pick and go’s allowed Jamie Wilkinson to power his way to the line only to be held up short but John Lutton was on hand to collect from Wilkinson before sneaking over to score the student’s first points of the game. Murphy was successful with the conversion to leave the half time score 7-3 to the students.
The students started the second half like they finished the first, at breakneck speed and blew Donaghadee off the park with great play from both forwards and backs. They were further rewarded with a penalty for offside which Murphy coolly slotted over to further extend his team’s lead to 10-3.
Donaghadee started to work their way back into the game and started to put some phases of play together themselves and came close to scoring but were forced back right on the student’s line by David Orr and Andrew Winder in the centre of the field. Dee continued to bombard the student defence with wave after wave of forward play but could not break through.
UUC worked hard to get back into the Dee half and after a break by Michael Dunleavy through the middle of the defence, Dunleavy was held up and the students former a maul which they drove to just short of the Dee line. Quick hands and thinking by the student backs allowed Sam Hall to go over in the corner to further add to the home side’s score. Miller made no mistakes with the conversion and put it through the sticks.
Both sides traded attacks but with the clock ticking down UUC starved Donaghadee of the ball and played controlled and sensible rugby to shut out any chance of a comeback by the visitors. With the final whistle came joy and celebration for the home side that had finally ended their seven game losing streak to one of the top teams in the league with a hard fought but deserved 17-3 victory. UUC now travel to Belfast High School Former Pupils this Saturday looking to follow this home victory up with a win on their travels.