Winning start to 2020 for Strabane

Kukri Ulster Championship Division 3

County Cavan RFC ..... 19

Strabane RFC ............. 29

STRABANE kicked off their 2020 with a gritty win against a talented Cavan team on Saturday. After going 12-0 behind, Adrian Sweeney's charges showed great character to claim the away win and try scoring bonus point.

Strabane dominated the early phases but a couple of handling errors in the Cavan 22 stopped their momentum and they were harshly punished. Cavan are a young side, with plenty of pace and power in their back line. Their powerful outside centre scored the opening try with a well worked break from his own half to score under the posts.

Shortly after, a well placed kick was gathered by the flying winger who outpaced his Strabane opponents to make the score 12-0 to the hosts. Strabane did not panic and slowly battled back into ascendancy.

Their forward pack and the ever abrasive Jack Graham in the centre pounded the Cavan line before a penalty was kicked by Matthew Wilson. The final period of the half was quite intense as Strabane's maul and scrum pushed the Cavan men back onto their own line. After multiple phases, the Tyrone men were rewarded by a Joel Smyth try to make the score at the break 12-8.

Strabane's half time discussion centred on playing to their strengths and the second half was almost completely dominated by Sweeney's men. To their credit, Cavan defended well; however, every scrum was an opportunity for the Strabane men to exert their dominance. Tries from Keith Gamble and Joel Smyth were sandwiched by a breakaway Cavan try from their wing. In truth, this was as dominant a display up front as you are likely to see and despite the scrums going uncontested near the end, an interception try from Gary Smyth secures the bonus point and a ten point margin was a fair reflection on the balance of play. Matthew Wilson again proved reliable with three conversions.

Strabane's next league game is at home in two weeks against Civil Service and the club is looking forward to a home Gordon West Cup match against Newry on February 15.

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