Old Belvedere impress


WHILE Old Belvedere were undoubtedly pleased to lay claim to two more valuable league points - this was after all only their second win of the season - it was the impressive manner in which Dungannon's stubborn challenge was overcome that really warmed the hearts of the Anglesea Road faithful.

From the off Dungannon's intentions were clear; use the forwards to blast through the centre of Old Belvedere's defence. When the pack succeeded in setting up Ashley Blair for a drop goal within the first minute that policy looked like it would pay off.

However going into the last quarter, the pack who had scored or engineered their sides three tries had no more to give and their challenge faltered.

Their defensive frailties were obvious as early as the ninth minute when flanker David Shanley broke through the centre of Dungannon's defence on the 22 to score under the posts. A Blair penalty cut the deficit to one point and with the northerners pack deep in Belvedere's 22 on the half hour it only seemed a matter of time before they took the lead.

This seemed assured when they were awarded a penalty, but when captain Michael Patton took it quickly and was held up short of the line, the chance was lost. Worse was to follow.

From the resulting scrum, Fergal O'Beirne, who had a fine game for Old Belvedere, decided to run it out of the 22 on the blind side. Willie Norse and Peter McKenna flew up the left hand touchline, and from the moment captain Stephen Tormey succeeded in catching the ball behind his right ear at full flight the try was on. He got the ball away to Craig Bewley who was up in support and the centre cantered in to touch down under the posts.

Following some excellent rucking by the Dungannon pack, flanker Willie Dunne dived over for a try on the stroke of half time to leave his side trailing by just three points. Belvedere's back line had their tails up now, however.

Following good work on the left by Willie Norse, Neil Francis and Ray Ward the ball was taken on by Craig Bewley who set Tormey up for his first try. Back came Dungannon again and after prop Patton had created the opening, scrum half Stephen Bell wriggled over from close in on 60 minutes.

However, when Tormey repeated the dose just five minutes later there was to be no way back.