Highfield 50 - 3 Boyne Senior XV (Ulster Bank AIL Div 2B)

Boyne’s young side suffered a chastening experience when they travelled to Model Farm Road in Cork City on Saturday last to take on the div2b league leaders, Highfield, in a tie that was played in dreadful conditions with torrential rain falling heavily throughout the game. The Cork side have seen a number of their former players return to the club having plied their wares at a higher level and this was apparent in physicality and maturity compared to Boyne’s young side.
Boyne played into the strong wind and driving rain in the first half and Highfield put them under pressure almost immediately when they found touch 5 meters from the Boyne line. They formed a maul from the line out and their physical power saw them cross for their 1st try after just 3 mins. The conversion was successful 15m in from touch. Boyne responded well getting bringing play into the Highfield ’22. They were successful in forcing but highfield had the more dominant scrum and they turned over possession and relieved the pressure.
Boyne did manage to continue to put pressure on the home side and a penalty resulted from 40m out near the sideline which they converted to put 3pts on the scoreboard after 10 mins. Highfield responded almost immediately they landed a penalty. Boyne were showing some good back play and brought play into the Highfield ‘22 that left young Joe Sweeney, on his AIL debut, with only his opposite winger to beat when he chipped over the defence but the Highfield winger managed to win the race for the touchdown. There was a period of sustained pressure from Highfield which brought them into the Boyne 22 where they continued to be patient with their pick and drive tactics which eventually resulted in a converted try for another 7pts after 21 mins. Highfield were using their maul to great effect gaining advantage up the middle of the field each time they deployed the driving maul. The home sides inside center was yellow carded on the 27 min mark for punching Jack Foley but unfortunately Boyne’s John Kermath also saw yellow for seeking retribution. Sometime later the Highfield No 8 was sent to the bin for slowing down the Boyne ball, however the numbers were evened up almost immediately when Brian Howell was yellow carded for retaliation after he had been tackled while he was in touch. John Kinsella was also put in the bin in the 40th min for an off the ball tackle about 5m out from his own try line. Highfield ran the resulting penalty and 2 phases later crossed under the posts to leave the halftime score 24pts to 3pts
Young Jack Foley was replaced by Oisin Howell early in the 2nd half due to injury. Boyne were now playing against the wind and tried to play possession rugby and succeeded in retaining the ball well for long periods. When they kicked for position however, Highfield were lethal on the counter attack. Their fullback fielded one of these kicks on his own ‘22 broke two tackles up the middle of the field before giving an inside pass to his winger inside the Boyne 22 for the winger to score to make it 31pts to 3pts. The try was again converted. Boyne made 4 changes after 55 mins bringing on Rooney, Onianwa, Cooney & Hall. This appeared to breadth life into Boyne and for a 15 min spell Boyne dominated possession and territory. They earned 2 penalties in the Highfield half and elected to go for the lineouts. The 1st lineout almost yielded a try and they lost the 2nd lineout when Highfield booted the ball 60m up the field. Highfield moved into Boyne 22 and a penalty try quickly followed 38pts to 3pts. A midfield turnover for Highfield saw them move the ball quickly away from the ruck for another Highfield try, this time from out wide. The Highfield outhalf missed the conversion from the touchline, his only miss of the day which was quite remarkable considering the wind and rain. The home side were now rampant and in the final minute Highfield scored from 1st phase attack, putting the ball through the hands to score in the corner, which was again converted by their outhalf.
The Highfield forwards were dominant on the day and were stronger and far more physical than their Boyne counterparts. Few teams will turn over the Model Farm Road side, particularly at home, and they look a good bet to return to division 2A this season having been relegated last season.
Boyne now face DLSP at Shamrock Lodge on Saturday next at 2:30pm and this game will be a real test for the team to try and get some much needed league points to keep their hopes of retaining AIL status alive. There may be a change in the time of this fixture to Friday night under lights because it clashes with the marriage of two Boyne Rugby Clubs stalwarts to each other, Hon Sec, Alan McEneaney will wed Judith Chalmers, who is the clubs administrator and official photographer. They tie the knot at 2:30pm in the Glenside Hotel on Saturday. Ireland also play the Springboks at 2:30pm on Saturday.