A fresh day in Randalstown saw the home side take on North Down in the first round of the Ulster Women’s Junior Cup. Nick Murray was there to catch the action.
A bright start from the home side led to an early try when Rebecca Nicholl went over after 6 minutes. 5-0
Town had the majority of possession in the first quarter, and when continuing to press near the line, the ball is well cleared by North Down and a knock-on into touch gives them the choice of lineout or scrum. The visitors chose the lineout, won it well and made great ground on the left wing, before working the ball across to the right for #18to level the scores at 5-5.
Coming back into the game after a slow start, North Down took the lead when #21 went over to make the score 5-10.
Off the back of that, North Down’s Mollie Gilmore went on a piercing run down the right, but was stopped about 10m short of the line. With the momentum, that could have been a big score.
However, Town once again started to dominate over the next 10 minutes, and the pressure bore fruit when Nicholl went over for her second score of the afternoon to bring the home team level at 10-10.
Keeping that momentum, Town regained the lead with a try from Nia Gilbert, with the conversion narrowly missed by Megan Finney, unluckily hitting the left upright. 15-10.
With half time only a couple of minutes away, Town made sure of a more comfortable lead at the break when Samantha Hickinson went over to make the difference 10 points at half time. 20-10.
The second half saw Town start were they left off. A dominant scrum around the North Down 22, saw them push the visitors back and the ball was moved quickly to Alex McCarthy to stretch the lead to 15 points. With this not being a day for conversions, the 15 point gap gave North Down a bit of a hill to climb in the dropping temperature and skiffs of rain. 25-10.
With about 15 minutes left however, North Down gave themselves some hope with a try in the corner from Courteney Jamison, helped over the line by full-back Gimore, despite attention from several Town players. 25-15.
Much as at the end of the first half, Town finished strongly, and despite losing McCarthy to an elbow injury late on, a last minute try from Hickinson, giving her a brace of tries on the day, finished the game off, making the final score 30-15. Both teams played well, but Town the deserved winners.