STRABANE warmed up for today’s home clash with Cavan (kick-off 2.30pm at Bradley Way) by picking up an impressive 21-14 victory at Holywood on Saturday last.
Having been defeated by 26 points at the same venue last term, a win of any kind was an improvement on this occasion, but it could have been so much better had it not been for three yellow cards and three disallowed tries!
Things looked as they were going as Strabane had scripted in the first half with two tries from Danish forward Sebastian Thorgersen, both converted by Matt Wilson, giving them a comfortable 14-0 lead.
However, after the restart things started to get interesting as the director decided to add a twist or two to the storyline with Holywood taking advantage of some generous Strabane defending to halve their deficit s Karl Hull touched down before Jordi De’Pledge converted.
Strabane responded, though, and 15 phases of play later, Matthew McCay barged over for a try converted by Wilson.
But then came another turn, with Shane McLaughlin and Dean Maxwell both sin-binned in the space of two minutes.
During that spell with only 13 men, the visitors defended superbly, conceding just the one score before Maxwell earned a second yellow card and in the closing stages Strabane were left scratching their heads as, with Holywood also down to 14 players, they had not one, not two, but three tries chalked off by the referee.
“It was a big turnaround from last year when we lost 38-12 and but for a few yellow cards we’d have probably got the bonus point,” observed Strabane head coach, Adrian Sweeney.
“We dominated the last 10 or 15 minutes and we actually had three tries disallowed that would have given us the bonus point but we’re delighted to get the win because in our league away wins are going to be precious.
“We played quite a controlled game, good multiple phase play and our scrum was dominant, our lineout was very strong.”
Strabane: Shane McLaughlin, Richard Olphert, Lee McLaughlin, Simon McSparron (cpt), Gordon Baird, Joel Smyth, Matthew McCay, Sebastian Thogersen, Peter Smith, David Rankin, Ashley McIlwaine, Anders Mindstrup, Matthew Wilson, Graeme McCarter, Mark Doherty. Replacements: Dean Maxwell, Nathan Cummings.