Hedley quick to hail weekend away win as highlight of league

Mark Henderson helping Portadown seconds to weekend success over Randalstown. Pic by Matthew Wickham Photography.
Mark Henderson helping Portadown seconds to weekend success over Randalstown. Pic by Matthew Wickham Photography.

Portadown head coach Richard Hedley this week set down a challenge to his senior squad for the final fixture of the Qualifying League campaign.

The town seniors were scheduled to host Clogher Valley last night (Thursday) at Chambers Park from 7.30 for the closing match of the season.

Success last weekend against Instonians - the hosts’ first defeat on home soil in two seasons - offered Portadown a memorable victory.

Hedley’s ambition was to set solid foundations for summer progress with another victory to wrap up the season.

“The Instonians win was our best of the season by some way to be honest,” said Hedley. “We scored some good tries and produced some strong play.

“Although a top-four finish is beyond the side at this point, another win would help give everyone a boost before the end of the season.

“To have wins over Instonians and Clogher Valley to see out the season would set us up for the summer work and put the right foundations in place.

“It marked a first home defeat for Instonians in two years and we were brilliant overall.

“We may have stayed in contention for a top-four spot if finished last weekend with a bonus-point win.

“However, I am satisfied it was more important to secure the win than run the risk of pushing for the bonus, lose at Instonians or still need a similar victory against Clogher Valley.

In the end, we got the reward we deserved for such a dominant display thanks to victory with real energy.

“We need to learn how to grind out wins.

“A win over Clogher Valley would mark down Bangor as the only side we finished unable to defeat in the league, so it has been competitive.”

Portadown players yesterday (Thursday) were set to depart for France in the latest tour of Orleans.

A 25-strong panel of players and club representatives was planned for the France visit designed to increase the long-standing relationship between the two clubs.