Grosvenor 1st XV 14 Clogher Valley 1st XV 47

Clogher Valley made it three wins out of three with a comprehensive 47-14 victory away to Grosvenor on Saturday.

Clogher opened up in style immediately into the high tempo game that coach Bothwell advocates. Centre Reece Smyton made the first of the many line breaks that he made on the day. Armstrong launched a kick into the Grosvenor 22’ metre area with prop forward Treanor, to the delight of the travelling support, winning the race to regain possession and several phases later Dunwoody went over for the opening try. The difficult conversion fell narrowly short in the stiffening breeze.

Callum Smyton caught the restart and scythed through the Grosvenor forwards, fixed the fullback to put Taine Haire away for the second try which Maxwell duly goaled. More than a point a minute at this stage the large travelling support was rubbing their hands in anticipation.

Alas for the next 30minutes the Valley struggled a bit. It became rushed, over eagerness led to handling errors and Grosvenor pounced on a loose ball hacked it forward and won the trace for the touchdown. It was duly goaled and the home side were back in the game.

There was little to enthuse about for a while except some excellent counter rucking by prop forward Primrose. He gained a penalty from one such encounter which Maxwell then arrowed into the corner. A good rolling maul from the resulting line out was just held up short before Grosvenor turned over and cleared.

Cobane was brought on to give Crawford a break but his involvement was short lived. A Grosvenor maul was deemed to have been collapsed and the unfortunate hooker was to take a yellow for the team. Grosvenor held good territory for the remainder of the half but the Valley defence was more than up to everything they tried to create. The Valley have become second half specialists and so it was to be again on Saturday. The Smyton brothers were superb in the final 40 minutes making line break after line break to set up try scoring opportunities.

The Grosvenor scrum struggled against the visiting eight which led to the opening try of the second period. Good possession was moved left of an advancing scrum and several phases later Crawford crashed over for the opening try of the second period. Maxwell added the extras to leave the visitors a 12 point cushion. It didn’t last that long as Grosvenor hit back with a converted try of their own after a sustained period of pressure in the Valley 22’ metre area.

A midfield scrum caused problems for the home side with the official eventually awarding Clogher a free kick. There then followed a heated discussion on the interpretation of the law between Grosvenor and the man in the middle. Only one winner in that scenario, penalty to the Valley and Grosvenor marched back ten yards.

Maxwell launched the penalty deep into Grosvenor territory which ended in a well worked line out and maul routine with Cobane getting the bonus point try. Maxwell again obliged with the extras. Minutes later the Smyton brothers carved a great hole in midfield and after some excellent recycling Crawford went over for his second try again goaled by Maxwell.

The Valley were in complete control now and probably should have scored more tries than they did but it was pleasing for the Coach to see the chances being created and the training paddock work being executed. Maxwell sent a laser type pass 25 metres to Taine Haire on the wing who scampered in for his second try with Maxwell adding the touch line conversion.

Reece Smyton cemented his ‘man of the match’ performance with the final try after another sweeping movement had created the chance. Maxwell wrapped up proceedings with the sixth conversion of the day.

The only other two sides on maximum points, Ballyclare and Dromore, visit the Cran in the next two weeks. First up this Saturday is the rearranged fixture with Dromore at the normal 2.30pm kick off.