Familiar issues but seniors end season on winning note at home

Ryan Purvis on the charge for Portadown in Saturday's league defeat of Ballyclare at Chambers Park. Pic by Matthew Wickham.

Ryan Purvis on the charge for Portadown in Saturday's league defeat of Ballyclare at Chambers Park. Pic by Matthew Wickham.

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Portadown wrapped up the campaign on Saturday with a victory that served as a snapshot of a frustrating Qualifying League run.

The 23-22 defeat of Ballyclare at Chambers Park arrived despite a leading position at one point of 23-8.

“We wanted a win to end the season so got that and played some decent rugby at times,” said Richard Hedley, the Chambers Park head coach. “However, the inability to close out the match from such a strong position has been an issue for much of the campaign.

“That inconsistency created problems for us overall and now we will spend the next few weeks analysing our players in terms of retirements, who is coming back to the club and what we need to bring in.

“We always aim to have local players on the books and the big issue for us moving forward is greater commitment to training nights.

“We want more available for the seconds and large training numbers help us prepare properly for games.

“There is a decent crop of young players coming up from the under 18s and they seemed to benefit from the integration into our senior training.”

YOUTH

Portadown youth sides recently picked up cup wins - with the under 14s defeating Ballynahinch by 37-12 and the under 16s out on top against Letterkenny with a 22-0 tally.

Darren Campbell, Gareth Gardiner, Jack Murphy, Michael Guilfoyle proved impressive during the opening exchanges, with the first try from captain Sam Neill before Matt Neill’s successful conversion.

Brett Flack, Nathan Dawson, Stuart Rainey and Nathan Meredith produced strong defending, with Jack Bateman an attacking threat from fullback.

Andrew Hollywood posted a second try before pressure from Peter Stevenson, Caolan McNally and Craig Chambers led to Matt Neill steering over a penalty.

The latest score arrived from Meredith before another Matt Neill conversion.