Huge game for Ashtown Lane side next weekend against Boyne
Wicklow RFC 20
Co. Carlow 6
Wicklow RFC got their ninth win of the league Leinster League Division 1B campaign by beating a tough Co. Carlow side 20-6 on Sunday afternoon.
Second-half tries from Adam Cullen and Noah ‘The Stepper’ Sheridan put the hosts well on their way to another victory.
A Fergus Ward try on the brink of half-time was the highlight of a fairly uneventful period. Carlow kicked two successful penalties in this half which were their only scores of the contest.
Wicklow’s impressive second half display earned them a well-deserved victory keeping them top of the table as they keep pushing for promotion.
Going into this game, Dan Van Zyl’s men needed a win to stay in pole position for promotion. On the other hand, Carlow needed the away victory to keep pressure on Wicklow and Boyne who are ahead of them on the league table.
Wicklow won by a slender three points in their previous meeting earlier in the season, so this had the makings for another nail-biting encounter.
The home side started on the front foot as an early Ben Watson break sparked their attack into life. They earned a penalty which was converted by Watson. Wicklow had an immediate 3-0 advantage.
They kept the pressure on their opponents, dominating possession for much of the first quarter. However, a physical Carlow defence and some handling errors meant they couldn’t capitalise on the early territory.
Carlow had their period of dominance. They scored two penalties, putting them into a 6-3 lead with half-time approaching.
However, it would be Wicklow who’d be going into half-time in the lead. A Fergus Ward break got them in the opposition 22. From there, they worked their way to the try line. Their pressure was rewarded when a big Stephen Swan carry along with a lovely offload put Ward away in the corner for their first try. It was 8-6 at half-time.
The home team went up a gear in the second half. A massive defensive effort from the whole pack, especially from forwards Conor Vize and Stephen Swan, kept the visitors scoreless in the second 40.
Wicklow went on the hunt for their second try with speedster Noah ‘The Stepper’ Sheridan getting more time on the ball. His dazzling feet created all sorts of problems for the opposition defence.
A Wicklow scrum deep in the red zone was the ideal scoring opportunity. They made the most of this platform as the ball made its way to Sheridan who used his feet to confuse the defence before putting Adam Cullen away for the score in the corner. Ben Watson added the extras with a brilliant conversion from a tough angle near the touch line. Wicklow led 15-6.
They got one more try before the game was over. A Swan break got them steam rolling towards the try line. He was eventually caught.
Substitute scrum-half Fionn Luddy, who was making his senior debut, capitalised on this momentum with some quick service getting the ball out to his backs. The move finished with Sheridan who dived into the corner for yet another try for the star in the making who continues his great run of form since moving up to senior level. A missed conversion meant Wicklow led 20-6.
The game finished 20-6. It was another hard-fought victory for Dan Van Zyl’s squad.
But there is no rest for them as next week they travel to second-place Boyne in a game that could have massive implications on who might win the league title.
Wicklow RFC: Aaron Byrne, Adam Cullen, Jack Dunne, Alex Porter, Noah Sheridan, Ben Watson, David Nicholson, Jay Byrne, Mark Cullen, Stephen Swan, Fergus Ward, Conor Vize, Johnny Hopkins, Dylan Byrne. Subs: Neil Dickenson, Jack McKenna, Johan Van Der Flier. Fionn Luddy and Oscar Hayes.