Ophir’s hopes of winning the Qualifying Four title received a major boost with Saturday’s comprehensive 57-0 win over Civil Service.
Despite missing four key players, the Mallusk men had a comfortable afternoon.
The weather conditions were far from ideal for a rugby match. With a howling gale blowing cross pitch and intermittent heavy rain, the first 20 minutes were uninspiring, to say the least. Apart from an intelligent cross-kick which the Ophir backs chased too early, and a missed penalty attempt, there was nothing for the supporters to shout about.
Ophir then began to use the driving maul to better effect and inching closer to the Civil Service line, number eight Neil Gray launched himself over for the opening try which full-back David Walker converted.
Two minutes later Cillian Rooney set off on a jinking 40-metre run to set up David Walker for a spectacular try.
Shortly after it was 19-0 when Walker converted hooker Johnny Murphy’s try. Civil Service were unlucky not to get on the scoreboard when their centre got clear on a 40-metre run but handling errors let them down. It was punished by another Ophir try; this time from out-half James Milligan.
Walker then grabbed his second try of the match, finishing off a classic move across the entire back line to send Ophir in 29-0 up at the break.
The second half mirrored the first with Ophir applying all the pressure. Gray took the ball from the base of a driving maul to crash over the line and Milligan broke clear to touch down his second try and put Ophir 43 points ahead.
After some fantastic interchanges between Gray and Davy Lucas, centre Anthony Davis scored under the posts in another of his charging runs.
Service, with two men off injured, had their misery compounded by Alan Davidson, filling in at scrum-half, who touched down close to the posts. David Walker’s conversion took the final score to Civil Service 0, Ophir 57.
This weekend Ophir travel to Londonderry YMCA.