STRABANE RFC’s Kukri Ulster Championship Division 3 clash with the students of Ulster University Coleraine last Saturday was abandoned after just 25 minutes of play following an injury to a visiting player.
The UUC man attempted to charge down a Strabane kick and whatever way he fell meant he needed medical attention due to groin and back injuries. After a near three quarters of an hour wait for an ambulance, the game was brought to a premature halt as there would not have been sufficient light to play it to a conclusion.
Up to that point, Strabane had been on top with Adam Cummings scoring their try, converted by Danish centre, Anders Mindstrup, and even at that early stage there looked to be only one winner.
“We were on top, getting a lot of linebreaks from backs and forwards – the forwards dominated there’s – so we were a little disappointed that it was called off,” observed Strabane centre, Graeme McCarter.
“We thought we could have got a few more tries in there because we were on top, it was all starting to work well and we were beginning to click.”
While frustrated at Saturday’s early finish, McCarter and his team-mates will be hoping that extra break will hold them in good stead for today’s clash at home against second in the table Newry.
Having lost narrowly, 14-12 at the County Armagh outfit on September 14, the Artigarvan man believes a victory in the return fixture can only boost their confidence for the remainder of the campaign.
“It’s a big game, which will hopefully get us up the table,” he observed. “The way we were playing [against UUC] was really good, probably the best we’ve played all year, so if we can continue that against Newry that will give us a bit of belief for promotion as well.
“If we can beat all the guys above us, then we’ll not be too far away and we got Newry in the Gordon West Cup [quarter-finals] as well, so it would be good to get one over them before that.
“We’re trying to go hard in the second half of the season and we’re trying hard to believe in the system, that we are as good as we are, so we’re looking for promotion 100 per cent.”
The upsurge in belief and confidence around Bradley Way has come along with new head coach, Adrian Sweeney, who McCarter acknowledges has given the team a massive boost this season.
“He’s been brilliant, he’s brought a good bit of structure to it, but it’s taken a few games for everyone to work out where they’re supposed to be and what they are supposed to do but now it has started to click,” he observed.
“He’s been great and he’s brought in Stephen Barr from Limavady, who has added a wee bit more of a dynamic to the team, so it’s all on the up.”
Strabane RFC: Shane McLaughlin, Gary Smith, Lee McLaughlin (cpt), Dean Maxwell, Keith Gamble, Adam Cummings, Sebastian Laumann, Mark Young, Peter Smith, David Riddles, Graeme McCarter, Anders Mindstrup, Jack Graham, Nathan Cummings, Oran O’Neill. Replacements: Gareth Duncan, Alan Fleming.
Kick-off against Newry at Bradley Way is 2.30pm today.