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Improvement, but no cigar

rosvenor met City of Derry 1st XV for the first time in a competitive fixture and in poor overhead conditions but a firm surface, the two sides fought out this C1 league fixture. City of Derry set off at a ferocious rate and it took a resolute home defence to hold them out. An errant clearance from Grosvenor fell into the hands of the visiting full back who made ground before finding his left wing and he in turn sent his centre in under the posts for a converted try, 7-0 to Derry. The game took a significant turn when the Derry loose head had to leave the field with a leg injury.

This caused a disruption to their scrum with a second row moving to tight head and their tight head moving across to loose head. The Grosvenor scrum was not only secure but exerted much pressure on their opposition. Many scrums were reset but in different circumstances, may have resulted in a home penalty for deliberate wheeling. As at Cooke last week, our lineout was generally secure with decent possession coming regularly from Copeland and Ferris. This set piece dominance was not turned into points as Derry were able to cope with all that Grosvenor threw at them, with their coach, who was playing out half, directing their defensive effort.

Last week at Cooke, Grosvenor conceded too many penalties from various offences and indeed this was the case again in this game. The coaches will be disappointed with this aspect as no doubt they took this into consideration with their preparation for this game. Ross Copeland had to leave the field with a lower back injury and this didn't help the home side's efforts to challenge the Derry lineout. The game's best player was undoubtedly the Derry full back who counter attacked and evaded tackles at will. His ability to find a gap and initiate an attack from anywhere on the pitch was not matched by his outside backs whose handling let them down on many occasions, thus keeping the score at 7-0. However, from another such break from the fullback and another tackle missed, the Derry right wing scored a try which was converted to bring the halftime score to 14-0 to the visitors.

Grosvenor came more into the game and almost scored in the left corner, only for Jack Kennedy to put a foot in touch as he was going in. The Derry no 7 was yellow carded for a high tackle and Timmy McMullan slotted over the simple penalty to put the home side on the board. Grosvenor were having their best period of play and brought the score to 14-10 when Jack Breen scored a try, similar to last week at Cooke when he chased a grubber and controlled the ball for an excellent try, converted by McMullan. Credit at this point to the referee, who saw the blatant late tackle on Skelton but had the foresight to play advantage, resulting in Breen's try. However, no yellow card was issued to the offender. 

With Grosvenor sitting on a defensive bonus point, they lost Neil Adams and Jonny Farquar to the bin and despite the return of the former, Derry created an overlap for an unconverted try, final score 19-10 to the visitors.


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