A stunning comeback stolen in the last minute of the game.
Following two tough weekend defeats against Wallace and Coleraine, the confidence of the ERGS Medallions had taken a significant knock and this weekend’s away game against Portadown was set to be a test of their resilience and determination as they approach the last month of preparation for the pending Medallion Shield competition.
From the kick-off the ERGS boys let Portadown assert themselves on the game. Tackling was poor in the initial minutes allowing Portadown to repeatedly break the gain line and it wasn’t long before they had scored three successive in tries and one conversion within the first 15 minutes; heads were down for fear of a repeat of recent weeks. Following a stern re-group under the posts after try three, it was No.8 Guoby’s who made the first move with a charging run. An opportune offload from No.9 McConkey allowed Guobys to crash through three attempted tackles, sprint for the line and grounded the ball to the right of the posts. No.12 Owen then stepped up for his first successful conversion of the day and suddenly ERGS had 7 points in the board. An air of belief began to creep back into the boys resulting in a very strong finish to the first half.
As the second half started, the ERGS boys took the pitch with much clearer determination and started to take control of the game. Once again Guobys charged at the Portadown defensive line supported by Clarke, Kathro, Read, Cullinan and Bagrev making continuous ground. The speed of the ERGS defensive line and tackling began to improve, particularly form flankers Browne and Johnston-Martin, allowing ERGS to steal and retain the ball. Soon Guobys scored his second try of the game, again converted by Owen, 17-14. The ERGS pressure continued form the re-start as they consistently challenged the home side’s defence and much of the game was played in the Portadown half. Solid rucking and some decisive positional play allowed the boys to retain the ball through a number of phases and advance confidently down the park. No.12 Owen then ‘danced’ his way past his opposite number to score the third try of the game and move ERGS into the lead 17-19.
Despite a stunning 19 point comeback, the final play of the game was to be one of the most frustrating game ends of the season. From a successful lineout on the ERGS 22, the ball was spread wide by the back line but lost on the far wing. Quick work by the Portadown 8 allowed him one last run of the day. As Owen surged forward to make the tackle he was stepped leaving Ingram and Weir out of position and unable to cover the runner who then grounded the ball under posts. Final score 22-19.