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Cooke RFC were the opponents for this McCrea Cup semi final and Grosvenor were seeking to get to a Cup final,in  which they were last successful in season 2013/14 when they defeated East Belfast rivals, CIYMS by 20-12. Queen's 2s lay in wait for the winners of this tie, having beaten Championship 2 side , Academy by 18-10 on the previous evening. Grosvenor started off at a hectic pace, recycling the ball at pace with their runners cutting great lines. This was correctly the brand of rugby to play into a strong wind. Cooke were finding difficulty with the pace of the visitors attack and it was no surprise when lock Peter Dawson smashed his way over the Cooke line for a well deserved try, which went unconverted, 5-0 to Grosvenor. Cooke's backs looked dangerous and eventually indecision led to a simple penalty in front of the posts, which Cooke converted, 5-3. Undeterred by playing into adverse conditions, Grosvenor fought their way upfield and Peter Davidson increased the lead to 10-3, with a typical bulldozing try. Again the difficult conversion was missed. Grosvenor seemed to be in control with a strong scrum and lineout although the driving maul did not make as much ground as in previous matches. However, despite their difficulties in tight play, Cooke fashioned a turnover and scored a try. The easy conversion was missed but the home side were back in it at 10-8 to Grosvenor. The visitors upped the pace again and weak defence from Cooke allowed centre Jos McConkey to waltz in under the posts for a try which Adam Skelton converted, 17-8 to Grosvenor. As the half time whistle was due, a further bout of driving play saw Pearse Jamison force his way over for a well deserved try. This was also unconverted but left Grosvenor well in control with a 22-8 lead. 

With a healthy lead of 14 points, a dominant scrum, a strong wind at our backs and a tiring opposition, it was reasonable to assume that Grosvenor would continue to pile up the points. This assumption was confirmed when Andrew Kelly broke right from a central scrum and outpaced the Cooke defenders for a magnificent solo effort which out half Adam Skelton converted to give Grosvenor a lead of 29-8. Cooke however had other ideas and with Grosvenor's first up tackling lacking it's usual venom, a rather soft converted try was conceded, 29- 15. Cooke saw a little window of opportunity but that was snuffed out when Andrew Kelly drove over for his second try. This was unconverted but increased the lead to 34-15 to Grosvenor. Cooke closed the gap when their speedy half back danced through a flimsy defence to score a try but again, the easy conversion was missed, 34-20. The game moved into the Cooke corner where a succession of powerful scrums allowed substitute scrum half Neil Adams to score possibly the easiest try of his career. The try went unconverted and the final whistle blew to end a game of 10 tries, 7 of them to a well drilled Grosvenor side, who will relish the opportunity to return to Kingspan to play for the McCrea Cup.

Grosvenor 1st XV will finish 4th in Championship 1. We have 2 games left but our position cannot change up or down . What a fantastic result for this team ! Added to that, a Kingspan appearance in the McCrea and a narrow defeat to Hinch 2s in the semi final of the Junior Cup. Irrespective of the McCrea Cup outcome, another fantastic season, with massive congratulations to the players and the Coaching staff.

 

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