Hedley happy with the in-play progress ahead of league trip

Portadown captain James Carlton.
Portadown captain James Carlton.

Portadown head coach Richard Hedley has high hopes for the forthcoming season following a positive pre-season programme.

Hedley watched his seniors kick off the competitive schedule last weekend with defeat at home to Belfast Harlequins seconds across the Conference League.

The 24-7 tally arrived for a visiting panel boosted by senior experience and Hedley is happy to move past the scoreboard and instead focus on the in-play progress.

“We have Ballyclare away in the first Qualifying League match and last weekend was an excellent way to continue our summer work,” said Hedley. “We can see signs of increased strength-in-depth and real potential across the group.

“A strong start to the Qualifying League can really boost our confidence levels and I have faith that our style of rugby, when it clicks, can really lead to something.

“There were so many positives from Saturday and other areas which will improve as our match sharpness gets better.

“It is about making the most of the squad’s potential.”

Portadown seconds’ friendly against Lurgan finished in a 53-7 success, with the Friendship Cup tie between the fourths and Orleans a 43-17 win for the tourists.

Weekend teamsheets:

Firsts v Ballyclare (away): R.McClean, M.Henderson, M.Wilson, J.Carlton, W.Graham, G.Hall, M.Alistair, G.McCoy, B.Forstelle, D.Tully, A.Chambers, J.Holden, C.Cousens, J.McClure, R.Purvis, R.Blair, L.McClure.

Seconds v Rainey OB thirds (away): M.Neilly, A.Dougan, G.Reid, T.Johnson, D.Hardy, M.Muldrew, J.Burns, D.O’Kane, J.Hampton, N.Irwin, J.Orr, N.Davison, G.Currie, C.McGarrity, M.Busby, R.Quinn, D.Alexander, D.Thompson.

Fourths v Ballynahinch sevenths (away): N.Glass, S.Quinn, A.Gilpin, K.Gribben, A.McClue, B.Milligan, K.Adams, P.Keightley, R.Brown, S.Hamilton, S.Lappin, A.Robinson, G.Hutton, S.Adams, J.Matthews.