With a fantastic turn out of 22 players from the mMammoths, Mackie were able to loan six players to Howe to make sure the game was played.
Mammoths versusHowe is normally a close game, physical but played in the right spirit.
The Mammoths who pulled on the Howe strip for the start really showed the level of players available on the day with Lorenz Nehring, Phil Murray, Tommy Gilchrist, Richard Cochrane, Joe Fitzgerald, Sean Sturley, Ian Ward to name just a few who helped them out.
Owing to the weather conditions, both sides were playing a short pass and tight game with little opportunity to get the ball out wide.
Mammoths were the first to score with captain Neil Leitch diving in for a try.
Neil continued to have a great game and linked well with Andy Cowburn as the half backs partnership. Up front for the Mammoths there were lots of big carries with Eric Lindsay really making his presence felt, being back in a Mammoths strip alongside Joe Fitzgerald. The strength and physicality of the forwards pack really showed with Lorenz, Ian Wards, Colin Goldsworthy, Willie Stevenson, Stuart Campbell and Neil McNaughton looking for every opportunity over the gain line.
Howe were absolutely up for it and had strong attacking back line with Phil Murray and Tommy Gilchrist making up the 10/12 pairing. Outside of Tommy, Howe had a player who took a lot of stopping with power and pace to match.
The Howe back line certainly kept Ciaran Dreelan, Kenny Black, and Keith Crawford working hard in defence but despite their best efforts Tommy Gilchrist broke through for a clean run to score for Howe. Mammoths lost their shape a bit and soon after Howe had scored their second try.
Mammoths regrouped and continued to put pressure on Howe close to their try line but were taken into touch on a couple of occasions. Finally, the Mammoths’ pressure paid off when John Kelly went over to score the equalizer for them.
Both sides were hungry for another score and again in the final period Mammoths kept putting the pressure on, good communication and a quick ball from the back of a ruck from Neil Leitch to Ciaran Dreelan, and a call from Keith Crawford saw a pop pass to him running a perfect line at full pace which gave Howe little chance to stop him as he burrowed his way through the defensive line under the posts to put Mammoths ahead.
The final whistle blew and the score was three tries to two for the Mammoths.
Man of the Match was Neil Leitch, with D*!k of the day to Phil Murray for a clearance kick for Howe against the wind and the ball landing behind him owing to the aforesaidstrong winds.
Anyoneinterested in joining the Mammoth adventure as a player or merely to stay fit through training should contact Neil Leitch (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ciaran Dreelan (email@example.com).