Leinster League Division 1B
By Harry Shorthose
IRELAND international Sean O’Brien was a key part of the Tullow coaching team on the line on Sunday, as they edged out a narrow win over Suttonians at Black Gates.
The home side started brightly, putting pressure on the Suttonians defence from a lineout. However, it was the visitors who drew first blood when they overturned the ball from a Tullow penalty six minutes in.
Hugo Nolan made good ground into the Tullow half before he was taken down. The ball was kicked from the ruck to the right-hand side where it was left for Domantas Baguzis to chase and he beat the last man for Tullow who struggled to contain him as he turned and touched down near the posts. Donatas Vilimavieius converted to make it 7-0.
Tullow kept pushing and trying to force an opening but they allowed Suttonians to overturn the ball. However, a knock-on allowed them another chance via a scrum.
Tullow were once again overturned which allowed Baguzis run down the right wing again and touch down in a similar position to the first try. Nathan Henderson missed the conversion.
Tullow won a penalty after a mistake from the Dublin side and it was converted by William Canavan in front of the posts from 30 metres out. It wasn’t long before the home side kicked into gear and scored a try of their own to reduce the deficit to just two points.
A Suttonians lineout allowed them to clear their lines. However, that gave Tullow the chance to win the ball back and put pressure on the Suttonians defence. They did just that and it wasn’t long before Stephen Smith was given the ball and he powered through the defence and touched down under the posts at the second time of asking with 25 minutes on the clock. Canavan converted.
The game was very even in the run up to half-time, both teams matching each other. Tullow could have been ahead at half-time. They overturned the ball from a Suttonians scrum and broke away, winning a penalty which was booted for a lineout. They won the lineout, put pressure on the Suttonians defence and were awarded a penalty. They elected to scrum it from five metres out as they were a man up. However, Suttonians overturned the ball and kept the home side out until half-time.
Tullow came out after the break with renewed vigour and landed a killer blow 12 minutes in as they touched down again to take the lead for the first time in the game.
A penalty saw them kick to touch. They won the lineout and made ground to put pressure on the Suttonians defence. They kept pushing and it paid dividends when Aho Bloomfield found space to touch down on the left-hand side. Canavan did well to convert.
A Tullow lineout towards the end saw Suttonians overturn the ball and kick into the corner. Tullow forced a five-metre scrum but conceded a penalty for turning the scrum. Sutton elected to scrum again but a knock-on brought their hopes to an end. The home side survived a nervy few minutes to hold out for the win.
Tullow: Paul Stephenson, Richard Nicholls, Augustine Mafoe, Paul Canavan, Phillip Dean, William Canavan, Ryan O’Neill; Scott Caldbeck, Aaron O’Byrne, Tom Cashin, Frank Murphy, Joe Waters, Kyle Hanbidge, James O’Brien, Stephen Smith. Subs: Keith Doherty, Spence Hanbidge, Adam Doyle, Aho Bloomfield, Shane Rohan.