Sunday 21 October 2018

'Briggan struggle against Wexford

Balbriggan 5 Wexford Wanderers 19

An extra week off seemed to work against Balbriggan as a very rusty looking team went down to Wexford in an important league match, opening a wider gap to the top three.

The murky and dank afternoon, with floodlights needed from early on, set the tone for one of the poorest Balbriggan performances of the season to date.

At the end of the season Balbriggan may well rue their inability to deliver on the basics, particularly passing, and all three of Wexford's tries stemmed from bad Balbriggan errors.

Tthat said, Wexford were the better team over the eighty minutes.

It was a hard slog of a match with both teams keeping the ball tight. For Balbriggan it was Malone, Caldwell and O'Reilly doing the heavy lifting but against a similar sized Wexford pack there was little to be gained.

The few times Balbriggan got the ball to the wing both Staunton and O'Brien managed to make good yards.

However, this was a few and far between with the ball more often being dropped in the pass.

Wexford's first try came from a loose ball, with their centre quickest off the mark, slipping two tackles before side-stepping a third to get in under the posts.

Balbriggan closed in on the Wexford line at the end of the first half, but the inevitable knock on left them scoreless.

The second half was more of the same with both teams continuing to run at each other

Wexford's second try came when a bad pass was hacked on by a Wexford back who was then blocked by a Balbriggan back who was lucky not to be carded. From the ensuing penalty and line out, the Wexford pack got over to put themselves 14-0 up.

Balbriggan then lifted themselves and got back into the game with a score from Ciaran Malone in the corner, but it went unconverted.

Balbriggan then undid all their good work when a throw to the back of the lineout was stolen by Wexford who flashed the ball across the line for the best score of the game.

Some late surges by Balbriggan were well defended by Wexford who ran out 19-5 winners.

Balbriggan now need to take the Christmas break to re-focus. There is a need to get the basics right and look to a game plan that suits their physique.

The report card for the first half of the season will read: can do better.

Fingal Independent