STRABANE bounced back from a disappointing result last weekend, with a 33-7 bonus point win over bottom of the table Ophir.
Tries from Jack Graham, Peter Smith, Ryan McKittrick and two from Ruairi Lynch, on his return from injury, secured the win for Strabane on a damp, foggy day in Newtownabbey.
Strabane travelled to Ophir hoping to put last weekend’s result against Donaghadee behind them and get some positive momentum ahead of their upcoming game against Letterkenny.
As the game kicked off it was obvious the winless Ophir wouldn’t be rolling over easily and Strabane would certainly have to work hard for a positive result.
Both teams got their hands on the ball early on, testing each other’s defences which held up well.
Good ball carrying from captain Simon McSparron and number 8 Jack Graham gave the Strabane back-line good positioning. Yet still the Ophir defence held firm.
After 20 minutes, Strabane started to take a hold of the game with their scrums and lineouts beginning to dominate. A Strabane scrum on the Ophir 10 metre line was finished off by the returning Ruairi Lynch, who cut through several defenders to score under the posts.
After the restart, returning loose-head prop Shane McLaughlin broke the gain line and offloaded to Alan Fleming who broke free. A pass to scrumhalf Peter Smith saw the move finished off with a try to make it 14-0 to Strabane at half-time.
Ten minutes into the second half, Shane McLaughlin again dodged a tackle and broke free down the field before managing to offload to Ryan McKittrick, who sprinted in to score a try.
An Ophir scrum on their own five metre line was turned over by Strabane, which allowed Jack Graham to score underneath the posts.
Ophir were awarded a penalty try when the referee deemed Peter Smith’s tackle was high and prevented the homesters from scoring.
The fog had started to close in as the game entered its closing stages. A good break from second row David Magee gave outhalf David Rankin room up the middle. Winger Damian Reilly carried well and passed to Lynch for his second try of the game. Rankin missed the conversion to leave the score 33-7 at the final whistle.
The Strabane Devels were also in action against Dromore 3s in the cup, but succumbed to a 41-5 defeat, with captain Gareth Lavery getting the only try for Strabane.
Strabane 1st XV: Shane McLaughlin, Ryan McKittrick, Richard Olphert, Simon McSparron (cpt), David Magee, Alan Fleming, Peter Browne, Jack Graham, Timothy Cummings, David Rankin, Ruairi Lynch, Nathan Cummings, Peter Smith, Damian Reilly, Alistair Gore.