Halifax Irish ARLFC

Halifax Irish ARLFC

Wibsey A 10 - 30 Halifax Irish A

by Chris Norman

The Irish second string progressed to the QF of the Supplementary Cup with a determined performance against a spirited Wibsey side. The irish, strengthened by the inclusion of former wolfhound Johnny Graham, started slowly and allowed Wibsey to take the lead on the very first set of 6 when they failed to field a towering kick. This allowed the wibsey fullback to gather and dive in under the posts. This lead was short lived however as the Irish levelled the scores through a Daz Williams long range effort and Macca Sulkin conversion. The irish then started to find their stride and took the lead soon after with Ryan ' High Tower' Barnes stretching over under the posts after supporting a fine break by the influential Kev 'Chaff' Smith. this was again improved by the boot of Macca Sulkin giving the Irish a 12 - 6 lead. Despite this setback Wibsey upped their game and forced a number of errors on the irish line, with only some oustanding defence from forwards Col Jagger, Emlyn Hughes and Gary Keogh denying Wibsey a score. The rest of the half remained scoreless with both teams struggling to make progress in the 4 feet of mud that was now the pitch.
The half time break seemed to revitalise the irish and they increased their lead soon after the restart with a well taken short range try by Kev Smith after strong forward bursts by Gav Pettifor and Gary Keogh had taken the Irish deep into the Wibsey half. The wibsey forwards were now tiring in the mud and the more mobile Irish pack were making yards for fun. Their efforts were rewarded with a copycat try by Kev Smith which put the Irish firmly in command at 20 - 6. The home side didn't give in however, and tried to force their way back into the tie. This was met with some crunching defense from the irish pack who had been imense throughout and they kept the line intact. A moment of magic and skill then put the Irish further ahead as Jim 'bad knee' Magee slipped a sublime pass to Ryan Barnes who crashed through the defense for his brace.With the irish now seemingly in cruise control it took a clever piece of thinking from the wibsey scrum half at the kick off for them to re-gain possesion. Wibsey then piled forward and from the resulting cross field kick on the 5th and last they gained some consolation for their efforts as the irish again failed to deal with the high ball. The irish were to have the last laugh though as daz Williams returned from his fag break and danced through the defense for another 80m effort converted by Gav pettifor!

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