BALLYNAHINCH III 29 PORTADOWN II 20
(after extra time)
Ballynahinch III retained the Crawford Cup and registered their ninth success in the competition on Tuesday with a hard fought extra-time win over Portadown II.
It means the Co Down club have now won the Senior, Junior, Towns’ and Crawford Cup in one season.
Portadown, who were seeking their first Crawford Cup success, played their part in an entertaining final, but the Hinch men rallied in the second half of extra time to take the spoils.
Holders Hinch dominated the early stages and outhalf Matthew Norton had points on the board after just two minutes.
H was off target with a long range effort on eight minutes, but Hinch continued to dominate and got a deserved try through winger John Hyndman, converted by Norton for a 10-0 advantage after 12 minutes.
Portadown came back into the game strongly dominating the remainder of the half. Outhalf David Whitten missed a penalty on 20 minutres just after lock Rodney Blair had knocked on crossing the try line.
But two minutes from the break they got what they deserved when centre Oliver Montels raced in for a try and Whitten converted to leave it 10-7 at the break.
Five minutes into the second half Whitten levelled the scores with a penalty and the Portadown side continued to dominate but could not make any headway.
It was the Co Down side’s turn to go on the offensive and Stuart Elwood was driven over for an unconverted try on 59 minutes to make it 15-10.
Whitten missed a penalty as Portadown crept back into the game again, but they levelled matters again when replacement Brian Fox finished off a great break to score an unconverted try in the corner,.
Norton and Whitten each missed penalty attempts in the first five minutes of extra time but Portadown were to take the lead for the first time in the game just before half time when Whitten’s grubber kick was chasded by Jack Orr and the fullback made no mistake to dot down in the corner.
In a fratnic opening second period, Portadown failed to clear Hinch scrumhalf Ben McMullan took off, ignored the two man overlap and backed himself to go over and round to the posts. Norton converted for a 22-20 lead.
Hinchh kept play in Portadown’s half and a try from Michael Carson two minutes from the end sealed their ninth success in the competition, Norton landing a superb touchline conversion aided by the right pole for a 29-20 lead.