Valley go back to top of table

David Dunlop hands off Portadown's Bicker

David Dunlop hands off Portadown’s Bicker

Clogher Valley 10
Portadown 5

This top of the table clash was never going to be a spectacle and so it proved with both defences on top.

Portadown had 65% possession but lacked any real penetration to break down an obstinate Valley defence who always seemed to have the covering tackler throughout the game.

Valley, with four of last week’s team missing, again started slowly.

Portadown playing with the slope found themselves encamped in the Valley 22.  Valley continued to give away penalties but Portadown missed two relatively easy chances. It was 20 minute before Valley managed a breakout with Sharkey and Primrose to the fore.

Valley started to put a series of drives together which in the 23 minute saw them take the lead with a penalty by Best when Portadown were guilty of going over the top, very much against the run of play.

After 30 minutes Portadown were awarded another penalty but elected to kick to touch. Valley defended the resultant line out well and seemed to have stifled the attack. However Portadown regrouped and were finally able to drive over for an unconverted try to lead 5-3. It was not to last long.

As half time approached Valley put together their best passage of play continually driving Portadown back in rucks and mauls.  On the stroke of half time they were rewarded with a try by Prop Bennet and conversion by Best to lead 10-5 at the break.

Valley started the second half on the ascendency but penalties and mistake inevitable relieved the pressure on Portadown. Portadown continued to try and move the ball but the Valley defence missed few tackles and when they did there was always another tackler to plug the gap. Valley lost a player to the sin bin after 61 minutes but it made little difference.

For Valley Sharkey and Captain Baxter were immense. But the man of the match was centre Falconer who made tackles and turned over Poratdown ball to relieve the pressure on several occasions.

Portadown, for all their procession, could not find a way through the Valley defence. In truth it was Valley who looked the most dangerous with wingers Stafford and Donaldson and the ever dangerous Dunlop in the centre making good yardage with the scant procession they obtained.

The game remained scoreless in the second half with neither side able to penetrate the others defence.