Down High notched up another impressive victory with a 21 – 10 win against Sullivan on Saturday. This was a very competent performance by the home team who, despite being under pressure for significant periods of the game, displayed great patience and control to build a match winning lead.
Sullivan kicked off playing with a slight wind advantage and from their first attack took an early 3 -0 lead when Down High were penalized in front of the posts. Down High regained possession from the restart and threatened the Sullivan line but the final pass was spilled out wide and Sullivan cleared their lines. With 11 minutes gone Down High won a five meter scrum and moved the ball smartly to the right creating space for Jamie Thompson to score in the corner and give the home side a 5 – 3 lead. The lead was short lived and when Down High were robbed of possession Sullivan exposed weak midfield defence to cut through for a try under the posts, the conversion was added giving the visitors a 10 – 5 advantage. Sullivan continued to attack but the Down High defence was solid and well organized and soaked up the pressure and as half time approached Down High were awarded a penalty to the right of the posts, Justin Rea landed the kick to leave the half time score 10 -8 in favour of the visitors.
The second half began with Sullivan once again slightly on top but the Down High defence remained solid and when Sullivan tried to move the ball wide Luca Rea intercepted a flat pass and ran in from 40 meters to score under the posts, Justin Rea added the conversion to give Down High a 15 – 10 lead. Sullivan tried to work their way back into the match but they became more and more frustrated by the aggressive Down High defence with Tommy McConnell and Ben Hale landing some big hits. With 55 minutes gone Down High moved further into the lead when Sullivan were penalized following a Kelvin Hamilton trademark barging run, Justin Rea landed the 35 meter kick and the home side eased further ahead 18 – 10. The growing maturity of the Down High performance was clear when from the restart they regained possession and concentrated on retaining the ball keeping Sullivan pinned inside their own half and from a lineout on the Sullivan five meter line the Down High forwards worked a catch and drive which resulted in Sullivan being penalized at the ruck, Justin Rea landed the kick to increase the lead to 21 – 10 with five minutes remaining.
Sullivan launched an all out attack in the closing minutes and despite having Luca Rea sin binned for a deliberate knock on the Down High defence remained solid and they closed the match out for what, in the end, was a confident, well constructed victory.