Strabane Rugby Club’s First XV succumbed to their first defeat of the season following a hard-fought battle between two very tough teams. Strabane were hoping to keep their winning start to the season going following their opening weekend win against Civil Service, while Lisburn were aiming to get a win in their first game after their opening weekend bye.
It was a very hot and humid Saturday afternoon before kick-off where a minute’s silence was held for former Strabane Captain Christopher ‘Cricky’ Hamilton who sadly passed away a few days before the game. It was clear the heat on the day would be a factor in the outcome of the game. Both teams trying their best to keep well hydrated before kick-off. Lisburn kicked off with Strabane’s Jack Graham catching the ball and Lisburn giving away an early penalty for coming in the side at a ruck. The opening 10 minutes was a bruising encounter with both teams attacking and defending very well. The opening score of the match would come soon after as a chip through by Strabane’s out-half Christiaan Grobler was chased down by James Perry and collected by Rory Kelly who broke through Lisburn’s defence. He would pop the ball off the ground to Jack Graham to score under the posts. Conversion kicked by Grobler. 7-0 to Strabane.
Following the restart Strabane hooker Ryan McKittrick attempted a quick line out but the ball over shot the waiting Strabane player. Lisburn managed to capitalise with Strabane penalised for not releasing. Penalty kicked 7-3 to Strabane after 15mins. Lisburn would be penalised for a no arm tackle on Strabane captain James Hamilton unfortunately the penalty attempt was missed by Grobler. Lisburn would get a try of their own after a missed tackle by Strabane after a Lisburn lineout and maul allowed the Lisburn out half to score under the posts. Conversion scored 7-10 to Lisburn. A Lisburn lineout would be stolen by Strabane’s Mark Young and a break through the middle by Grobler allowed the fly-half to score under the posts. Conversion scored by Grobler 12-10 to Strabane. Lisburn got back into the game just before half-time with a well worked score in the corner. Conversion missed 12-15 to Lisburn.
Strabane would hit straight back in the second half as good scrummaging from Strabane setup James Perry to break through the Lisburn defence who passed to Nathan Cummings to score. Conversion missed by Grobler 17-15 to Strabane. The heat was really beginning to take a toll on both teams. Loosehead prop Lee McLaughlin would receive a yellow card for a high tackle. Strabane defended Lisburn’s attacks with some really good tackling. Strabane put the pressure on Lisburn after their prop returned to the field but Lisburn defended well also. A penalty to Lisburn would push Lisburn in front 17-18. Good hands from Lisburn allowed their winger to score near the corner. Conversion scored 17-25 to Lisburn. That would be the final act of the game as the game finished 17-25 to Lisburn with Strabane narrowly missing out on a losing bonus point.
Strabane Team: James Hamilton (Capt.), Ryan McKittrick, Lee McLaughlin, Mark Young, Jason Henderson, Gary Hunter, Jack Graham, Reuban Orr, Dylan Hampton, CJ Grobler, Rory Kelly, Nathan Cummings, James Perry, Adrian Crumley, Matthew Wilson, William Finlay, Colin Crumley, Hugh Flanagan.