Ophir see off BHSFP to preserve unbeaten league record

Ophir's Neil Gray runs through two BHSFP forwards during his side's win at Magowan Park. Photos: Freddie Parkinson
Ophir's Neil Gray runs through two BHSFP forwards during his side's win at Magowan Park. Photos: Freddie Parkinson

Ophir were made to work hard to maintain their 100 per cent Qulaifying Four League record as they defeated Belfast High School Former Pupils 32-5 at Magowan Park.

The opening minutes of the encounter went to Ophir, with a fine break by scrum-half Karl Davis, offloading to winger Alan Davidson who was bundled into touch. The High School managed to clear the danger and drove up the pitch.

Ophir were dominating the set scrums, but in the loose the visitors were recycling the ball brilliantly. Inevitably, the home defence was stretched beyond its limit and the High School right wing crashed through to score an unconverted try.

Ophir took the set-back well and launched a series of assaults on the High School defence.

But, for no apparent reason, the home pack continually transgressed by arriving into rucks from the side, and conceding a series of penalties.

The visitors lost their inside-centre to an ankle injury on the half-hour and Ophir kept the pressure on. But just when it seemed a breakthrough was likely, the referee blew for half-time.

First-class kicking by the High School out-half kept Ophir pinned back early in the second session. However, the benefit of retaining possession and eliminating turnovers was evident for Ophir when a tremendous driving maul allowed prop Chris Phillips to break clear and touch down in the corner. Then full-back David Walker, who had missed the difficult conversion, made amends with a fine penalty.

Five minutes later Phillips showed his strength again from close in and scored his second try.

At last Ophir got their act together, and taking advantage of the extra man and a tiring High School, began to run in tries almost at will. Number eight Neil Gray dropped on the ball over the line after a big drive from a five-metre scrum. Back row Dave Lucas took the ball at pace to touch down under the posts before Karl Davis did likewise.