Omagh 1st XV 17 Clogher Valley 1st XV 34

Clogher Valley RFC done the double over Omagh at the Thomas Mellon playing fields in their first encounter of the season with both the Valley 1st and 2nd XV sides coming away with victories.

On the main pitch, it was Omagh who notched up the first points of the afternoon with a penalty for the Valley scrum collapsing. For long periods the match was contested in the centre of the pitch with neither side giving ground.

The tackling was ferocious with the home side defensive line coming up fast, stopping the visitors getting into their stride. Omagh were unable to turn sustained pressure into points when they crossed the Valley line but the ball was held up.

As the game was approaching the 30-minute mark, the Valley were awarded a scrum eight metres out from the Omagh line.

Callum Smyton drove from the base of the scrum, through several Omagh defenders to touch down over the Omagh line for the games first try. David Maxwell converted the try and the visitors lead 7-3.

A few minutes later, the Valley doubled their try count. The ball was spread from one side of the pitch to the other and Karl Bothwell got close enough to the line to stretch and place the ball down in the corner to score Valley’s second try. The conversion was unsuccessful, but the visitors led 12-3 at the interval.

The Valley started the second period better than the first, but strong Omagh defence kept the visitors from making much ground up the pitch. Clogher started to put together several phases, but small errors would give possession back to the home side.

Five minutes into the second half, David Maxwell spotted a gap in the Omagh defence and sprinted through, he off loaded to Taine Haire who then split the Omagh defence to then off load to Aaron Dunwoody who scored Clogher’s third try in the corner to make it 17-3.

The game then went through a stop/start phase with the visitors not really capitalising on their possession. Omagh came close to scoring, when their winger sprinted 80 metres, only to be denied by a try saving tackle by Callum Smyton.

As the game entered the fourth quarter, the home side were the next on the score sheet with a dominant scrum and a good drive over by the forwards. The additional conversion points were added to make the score 17-10 to the visitors.

David Maxwell increased the Valley points by three with a 40 metre penalty kick on the 70 minute mark.

Two minutes later Reece Smyton made a dent in the Omagh defence, David Maxwell squeezed through a gap and sprinted 35 metres up the pitch, off-loading to Matthew Bothwell, who galloped in the remaining 20 metres to score.

The conversion was added and the visitors stretched their lead to 27-10.

Omagh did not give up and added another try through their pack, who had worked hard all afternoon driving close to the ruck, making those hard yards that seem to go unnoticed in the modern game.

With a successful conversion, the gap was closed yet again to seven points.

This lifted the home side and they started to put together several phases of play, testing the Valley defence, which held strong.

A turnover at the breakdown and the Valley struck again. Matthew Bothwell doubling his try count for the day.

David Maxwell added the conversion and the Valley wrapped up the match, 34-17.

On paper, the score shows a comfortable win for the visitors, but Coach Stephen Bothwell will not be happy with the manner of the win and will want much more.