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Renwick Football Dinner 2010

30 Apr

With SkySports declining the chance to broadcast the 2010 Renwick Football Dinner in favour of showing a far less illustrious and important shindig, you’ll have to make do with a run-of-the-mill blog post for coverage of the one of the showpiece events on the sporting calendar.

The great and the good and the Ben of Renwick FC descended on Barnaby’s on Monday night to celebrate the end of another moderately successful season. Some girls were also allowed to come, although many seemed to be labouring under the illusion that the evening was about them. After a dinner which was, much like Renwick FC’s season, very good in places but found wanting at vital moments (ie no gravy refills), and after the daylight robbery that was the Jonny McCollum Cup was revisited, the main business of the evening commenced. Awards were to be, erm, awarded for Fan of the Year, Hard Man, Goal of the Season, being Ben, One-game Wonder, Top Scorer, Most Improved Player, Young Player of the Season, and of course Player of the Season. The awards were presented by former Renwick icon and current STS luminary Jonny McCollum.

Fan of the Year – Heather McMullan

Hard Man of Year – Andy Lynch

His stock has certainly risen this season.

Goal of the Season – Pete Loughridge v Bar Staff???

Being Ben (ie Roy Keane award for being keen) – Ben Hanna (although Mark and James ran him close)

One-game Wonder – Joel Loughridge

Golden Boot – Mark McCavery

Most Improved Player – James McCullough

Young Player of the Season – Naked Rob

Player of the Season – Mr. Skills

In an ironic and cruel twist, runner-up Andy Lynch was asked to collect the reward on behalf of his absent compatriot. Far be it from me to cast aspersions on the Hard Man’s decency, but one suspects the award may not have made it further than the Lynch family mantlepiece.

Once the important stuff was done and dusted, Emmaline provided us with a mini Biddy Biddy Up Up, which was followed by the inevitable tedium of the obligatory photo-taking. Finally, James McCullough rounded off the evening nicely with an epilogue from Psalm 118. All in all, credit must go to Andy Mo for putting together what was a good night’s craic, and a fitting end to the season. Also, he must be lauded for “taking on the mantlepiece” of manager this season and putting in a lot of hard work over the last 7 months. Big shoes to fill.

More photos:

Being MC is always hard.

Renwick residents

Gavin Unable-to-recreate-his-performance-from-Google-Streetview-well

Judging by the look on Kathryn’s face, Gavin must have a new phone…

Thanks to Ali G and whoever else I nicked photos off.


Disappointing Renwick crash out of cup

30 Apr

The Renwick pundit will publish a review of the season at some point in the next few weeks, just in case anyone is expecting this match report to contain any moderately developed thoughts.

Having experienced euphoria at the final whistle last week after beating Derryvolgie, it was a very different story this week when the referee finally called time on the game. The draw for the second round of the cup had seemingly gone in Renwick’s favour, being handed a tie against QUBNISA, a team they had soundly beaten 5-1 earlier in the season. With the other big teams left in the competition having drawn each other, the path to the final was starting to look increasingly clear. Standing in the way of this however, was an organised an resolute NISA side.

As with last time, NISA brought a big squad with them, and Renwick had a relatively small squad, with only 2 substitutes. Veterans Peter Loughridge and Robert McCollum gave way for a centre back pairing of Mark McCavery and Steven McCollum, who between them have played well over 100 games for Renwick. Chris Carson paired up with Player of the Year Ian Buchanan in the centre of the pitch beach, the wings remained unchanged with McKelvey and Mitchell, and Mark Porter started where he finished last week, up front with Michael Hawthorne. A signifcantly changed team from last week, although the focus on keeping a clean sheet remained unchanged.

With the wind blowing in Renwick’s favour, the game got underway. On his birthday, Cromie Robert took up the refereeing duties for the first half, overseeing what proved to be a fairly uncontroversial half. The opening exchanges were fairly dull, not really much happening anywhere, save for a lot of throw-ins. The wind played a significant part, allowing goal kick taker to bypass the entire midfield and up to the young strike force, who despite their best efforts struggled to find a way through an organised, if not entirely skillful defence. When the ball did make it into midfield, Chris Carson did a good job of breaking up the play and Ian Buchanan provided composure and base from which to build. Renwick’s most obvious goal threat came from corners, and after the third one flashed across the face of goal without so much as a touch, this pundit did begin to wonder was it going to be one of those days…

It was from one such corner that QUBNISA took the lead. Both Renwick’s central defenders had drifted into the opposition box, and with Ben Hanna taking the corner, defensive cover was left to Morrison and Carson. NISA only had one player lurking, and so the danger seemed minimal, but when the ball was played out from the far post, a quick NISA break left Renwick looking very exposed at the back. A passing interchange left Carson in the almost literal dust, and soon the player with the ball at his feet had to make a choice as McCullough has rushed off his line to narrow the angle. The striker opted to go round the outside of the keeper and despite Morrison’s efforts to get to the line in time, the shot was early and it was 1-0 NISA. There was probably 10 minutes left of the first half left at this stage, and the scoreline barely reflected the way the game had gone. Renwick had been very dominant in possesion and territory, but hadn’t created any clear cut chances. Mark Porter had a shot from the edge of the box saved, and Ian Buchanan saw a free kick or two pass over the bar.

At half time the game was still very much there to be one, although Renwick knew they had a harder half ahead of them playing into the wind. The two wingers were replaced by Robert Cromie and Philip Aicken. Cromie went to right wing, and Aicken came into midfield. NISA had most of the play in the early stages of the half, and it wasn’t long before they converted it into a goal, a goal about as different as is imaginable from the first. The same player picked up the ball midway inside the Renwick half, with his back to goal and feeling the close attention of Hanna and Carson. In a lightning quick motion he had turned and found half a yard for himself and put away a very early shot. The ball was almost past McCullough before he could react, and to compare the goal to this one would not be unreasonable.

Renwick were 2-0 down and looking very devoid of any sort of inspiration. Mark McCavery was moved into midfield to liven things up and this did work to an extent, as Renwick started to force the issue at the other end of the pitch. On about 75 minutes a penalty was awarded to Renwick for a foul on Buchanan in the box, and McCavery stepped up and smashed the ball home. This was all well and good until the penalty was ruled out due to several Renwick players encroaching. It was the correct decision, although still a fairly hard one to take. Forced into taking the penalty again, the Renwick number 9 this time decided to go for placement but got it wrong leaving the keeper with a relatively straightforward save.

NISA had further chances, seeing a loose swing at a ball from a corner come back off the bar and another effort cleared off the line, but as fill time approached it was Renwick who had all the pressure. On 86 minutes a goal was finally created, with a fine Ian Buchanan cross being headed in by McCavery. Robert Cromie might well have brought it level with a shot from 8 yards he managed to put wide but it was not to be and when the ball was hoofed clear by a NISA defender the referee brought the game, the season and a number of Renwick careers to an end. Heading straight to the changing rooms, Renwick were left to contemplate what might have been.

I will save any further words for the end of season round up, which should be published in the next few weeks. Thanks to everybody who has been involved in Renwick this season, it has been a pleasure.

In case anybody is wondering, the Renwick Dinner will be being blogged in the next few days, and footage of the Jonny McCollum cup that some people have requested will be placed on the internet in the next few days in some form or another.

Man of the Match

Mark McCavery – solid in defence, creative in midfield and a threat in attack.

Porter Snatches Late Cup Win for Delighted Renwick

22 Apr

Renwick House FC 1-0 Derryvolgie

Mark Porter striking the winner

The draw for the first round of the Belfast Super Cup pitted Renwick House against arch-rivals  Derryvolgie. The Presbyterian Halls lined up confidently having beaten Renwick in a tetchy affair on their way to winning the Belfast Superleague. The volcanic ash left Renwick with a long list of unavailable players leading to frantic phone calls to former greats such as Matt “Gulliver” Jess and Stephen Steele. RTC students Peter Loughridge and Robert McCollum formed an experienced centre-back pairing and completing the XI a debut was given to Jordanstown student Michael Muldoon as Renwick wore their change kit. Derryvolgie’s failure to correctly book the Ozone pitch meant the crucial cup encounter was played at Cherryvale, the venue for Renwick’s disappointing 50th game earlier this year.

Warm up

Epic photo

A couple of the fans, thanks to all who came to support

“Keep it tight” were the instructions ringing in the ears of the Elmwood players as they took to the pitch in and the opening exchanges were nervous but Peter Loughridge organised the Renwick defence into a solid unit. Richard McKelvey was converted from a defender to a  right midfielder with the workrate of Dirk Kuyt and didn’t stop running hard from the first whistle, providing manager Morrison with more cover than a Amish school uniform. A late tackle on Peter Loughridge threatened to end the Grange captain’s involvement but he continued and minutes later Ben Hanna gave the Derryvolgie right winger Barrow something to cry about (and he did cry about it for the rest of the 90 minutes) as he lunged for a bouncing ball catching his opponent. McCullough was forced to produce one noteworthy save making a one-on-one stop with an outstretched  right leg before Strob (who proved to be just as pacey as his younger brother Stevie) sent the ball to safety. Michael Mitchell proved a useful outlet for Renwick but only one opportunity was ever created for McCavery as Derryvolgie dominated possession and territory with Ithai Udaiyar pulling the strings throughout the half.

A good old-fashioned Andy Throw photo

Insert epic Mark quote

Strob back in Renwick action

It’s not as bad as it looks!

Penalty appeal for DV

McKelvey was brilliant

DV pressure

Number 7 was probably still talking about Ben’s tackle

Ithai had a great game

No prizes for guessing who won this encounter

Mitchell on the ball

A hairy moment (this caption would’ve work better if James hadn’t got his much-needed haircut)

Renwick were probably the happier of the two teams at the break despite failing to test Derryvolgie’s shaky keeper. The second 45 picked up where the first half had left off with Renwick relishing their underdog status and fighting like beavers, frustrating the league champions. Peter Loughridge aerial domination was central to RHFC’s ability to absorb the pressure and the pace of McCavery offered a threat on the end of long balls. Derryvolgie’s only half chances cam from corners but the best chance from a set piece came at the other end as Loughridge headed narrowly wide from a great Ben Hanna delivery.

Mark Porter moved up front as Ian Buchanan dropped back into midfield in an effort to contain Ithai but the possibility of a penalty shoot out was beginning to loom in the minds of all the players. In the 86th minute the Derryvolgie defence failed to deal with a long pass from Loughridge which found Porter who could not be caught by the Presbyterians and finish cooly sending Renwick into ecstasy. Derryvolgie poorly refereed the entire match and began playing “Fergie-time” from the Renwick goal but the team in white stayed strong and organised. Muldoon put in a particularly fine last few minutes working hard as legs tired around him.


Desperate DV chase down the ball

With only 2 minutes remaining it was becoming apparent that the game was slipping beyond the league champions and a loose ball was kicked through landing at the feet of McCullough. Concious of the ticking clock Renwick’s keeper chose to keep the ball at his feet and dribbled to the corner of the box alongside the byline. Frustrated Scott Jamison chased towards the keeper and without any chance of winner the ball he lunged through the back of McCullough in what can only be described as a truly horrible tackle capable of ending a career, not just James’ marathon hopes. Peter Loughridge was highly unimpressed with the foul on the young keeper and conveyed this to the opponent before persuading an irate McCullough not to chase after Jamison. Inexplicably the referee failed to produce a red card claiming in Arsene Wenger style to have been looking the other way whilst the whinging Barrow attempted to square up to black belt Hanna. Loughridge turned to Jamison and beseeched him to have the common decency to walk off the pitch himself but the striker lacked the morals to do so.

Not receiving a Christmas card

Renwick held on for the remaining minute despite Derryvolgie desperately throwing their keeper forward for a free kick and guilty DV striker was put in his place by a meaty Buchanan challenge before Morrison’s men rejoiced at the eventual sound of the final whistle. The victory was made all the sweeter in light of the disgraceful behaviour of Jamison who summed up the actions of certain individuals in the Derryvolgie side leading manager Morrison to describe them as having some players with “a very poor attitude”. However it should be recognised that there were notable exceptions to this including midfield maestro Ithai and glasses-wearing Ray Millar. Renwick can now look forward to a cup quarter-final after a deserved victory but if the Renwick Pundit had been commentating as the whistle blew he may have made a Norwegian-style outburst, “Andrew Barrow, Scott Jamison, Edgar Davids, Steve Stockman your boys took one epic beating”.

Piecam returns

Celebrating with ice cream

Man of the Match

Ithai put in a very strong performance for Derryvolgie but all the Renwick players played a great game. All members of the Elmwood defence played well but Man of the Match must go Peter Loughridge. He organised the Renwick team, dominated in the air and put in many crucial tackles.

Renwick team: James McCullough, Andrew Morrison, Robert McCollum, Peter Loughridge, Ben Hanna, Richard McKelvey, Mark Porter, Michael Muldoon, Michael Mitchell, Mark McCavery, Ian Buchanan

Last minute goal salvages a point for Renwick

25 Mar
  • Much changed Renwick side earn a point in final league game
  • Both teams forced to play with 10 men due to lack of numbers
  • Other results mean Renwick finish up in 6th in the league

[Updated details about dinner at bottom of post]

The opposition for the last game of the Belfast Superleague came in the form of 10 man Belfast Bible College. While the Renwick manager had struggled to get a team together, his BBC counterpart had clearly had a worse time of it. To their credit, they did manage to bring someone to referee the whole game. Due to numerous absences, 3 players were making their first appearance of the season. Joel Loughridge, the former Renwick number 1, stepped in at centre half to marshal the defence. Richard McKelvey, returning to the action following an 18 month layoff due to a broken nose (unfortunately the match report does not record the circumstances), joined the defence at left back, leaving Ben Hanna to move further up the pitch. Newcomer Dave Browne started the game on the bench, coming on in midfield midway through the first half.

Richard thought his shirt smelled. Seriously.

Just before kickoff Renwick were informed that BBC could only field 10 players, forcing the manager into some quick tactical changes. In the end, a 4-3-2 formation was adopted, although whether it worked is up for debate. Either way, it was certainly strange, and left masses of space in the wide areas of the pitch. Philip Dunwoody would have had a field day! Due to numerous injuries plaguing several Renwick players throughout the match, having a sub worked out quite well.

BBC got the match underway, and almost immediately it was clear that they were not a team who were comfortable on the ball. Renwick were very dominant in the opening exchanges, controlling possesion, and setting the tempo for the game. BBC handled the pressure well, and did enough to ensure that Renwick were not able to find the killer pass in the final third. A general hesitancy and lack of strength in front of goal did not help the cause.

McCullough about to munch the striker

The opening goal came from the most farcical of circumstances. The BBC rolled the ball to his left back, who feeling the pressure from Mitchell, scuffed a pass which somehow passed through the centre of the park, under Stevie McCollum and into the feet of the striker who beat the onrushing keeper with an early shot. This was the first real attack BBC had put together and came very much against the run of play. Like most goals Renwick concede, this one was very defensible. After the goal, the game continued as before with Renwick encamped outside the BBC box, but not creating any real chances. With every goal kick, Renwick easily won the ball in the air and took it up the pitch. At one point I did wonder whether the keeper was deliberately kicking the ball into touch just to get a throw in to move the play up the pitch, a bit like what happens in rugby. In fact, the game at times could have been mistaken for rugby, what with the amount of big high kicks from the keeper and the lack of corners.

Another Renwick attack about to come to nothing

The Renwick midfield was set up with Mark Porter playing alongside Mark McCavery, who had been dropped back to add some bulk to the centre of the park. The wings were largely neglected, although Ben Hanna did spend some time on the left flank, and worked tirelessly to prevent BBC having an time to collect their thoughts and pass the ball about. Mark Porter’s direct running at goal caused problems, but the defence managed to hold tight.

With about 10 minutes to go in the half, BBC launched another counter attack, this time coming down the right. Richard McKelvey, who had been having a solid game up to this point, allowed the striker to muscle goal side of him, and as before, took an early shot at goal, leaving McCullough in no man’s land, and the ball creeped just inside the post to make it 2-0 to the Dunmurry side. Sky Sports News don’t cover BSL matches, but if they did, no doubt they would have come up with some stats to illustrate the huge share of possession and territory Renwick enjoyed.

Decent finish

Renwick’s dominance did finally pay off shortly before half time, when Michael Mitchell fought well to hold onto the ball in the BBC box. The ball was passed to Ian Buchanan who showed good strength to beat the defender as he slid in to score his 15th goal of the season and continue his 2010 scoring run. The goal had been coming almost since the start and was certainly deserved. With only minutes of the half left, the Elmwood side were unable to convert the pressure into another goal and both teams convened for half time talks.

The guy stuck to Joel’s shoulder slowed him down at times

He managed to shrug him off eventually

Even at half time, the strain of playing with 10 men was starting to show on some players, and it would be fair to say that the next 45 was played at a slower pace. BBC, spurred on by their surprising lead, took the game to Renwick in the second half, and started to play down the wings, causing problems in the Renwick defence.

With 20 minutes remaining, and BBC still 2-1 up, Renwick were starting to look very short of options. Ian Buchanan and Michael Mitchell were being met with some resolute defending. Buchanan and McCavery swapped places, reverting to more familiar positions. Up to this point, McCavery had done well in midfield, winning everything in the air and ensuring that there was no way through for any would be BBC attacks. Shortly after this switch, Mark Porter, who had been having a great attacking game already, picked the ball up inside the centre circle and embarked on a direct run an goal, weaving through at least 3 defenders before shooting just inside the box and placing the ball well into the corner, leaving the keeper and several confused looking defenders in his wake. It was a fantastic individual goal, certainly a contender for goal of the season. It gave Renwick a much needed boost, and although it was not a team goal, the foundations had been laid through some very good team play and desire, a factor which had been slightly lacking in previous games.

Not even their 8ft tall keeper could stop it

A promising BBC attack forced McCullough into a save to push to ball behind for a corner kick. The corner came to Morrison standing on the post who got a head to it, but the clearance was unconvincing and the ball came straight back into the box. With no one stamping their authority on the situation, the ball fell at the feet of the BBC left winger who turned a shot high into the top corner of the Renwick net with an unstoppable shot. Having just got into the game, the goal came as a blow to Renwick, but the belief remained.

Poor guy didn’t stand a chance

For the last 5 minutes, McCullough came out of nets, leaving the injured Ben Hanna to see out the season as goalkeeper. His only action was to take a kick out of his hands, which he did with minimal success. McCullough immediately moved high up the pitch and got up into the faces of the BBC players, forcing several throw ins. In the last minute, Buchanan took a throw deep in enemy territory to Andrew Morrison, and after a quick passing interchange, he found Stevie McCollum roaming on the edge of the box, as he likes to do. He took a touch or two, found half a yard a struck a shot hard and low into the corner of the net to score the goal that brought the teams level again at 3-3. A cheeky if ever there was one.

Ian about to play the killer ball

Stevie’s goal – awesome way to finish

Man of the Match

Mark Porter – an excellent solo goal capping a great performance

More photo action:

So that was it, 3-3, and the league was over. Maybe not the finish we had hoped for, but under the bizarre circumstances, a fair outcome. Renwick finished 6th in the league. Derryvolgie had already won the league last week, and the best Renwick could have hoped for was 4th place. However wins today for Donegal Rangers and Derry City made this unachievable with only a point from the game today. Final league standings here. Renwick’s push for the title faded considerably after Christmas, with the loss of key players in key games no doubt contributing to this. Having said that, it’s been great fun and I’d like to thank everybody who has played in any game for however long. Credit especially to Mark McCavery, James McCullough and Ben Hanna who have played in every game this season. To those who come and watch or take photos, thank you to you as well!

But the season isn’t over just yet, as this year Renwick have still to compete in the Belfast Super Cup, which is to be played after Easter. There are currently 15 teams entered, meaning there will be four rounds. As has been noted this season, we have not played a team that we absolutely could not have beaten, and so the Cup should be viewed as a decent chance of making something of the season. The first match is 21st April, with the draw yet to be made. Details will be in the Twitter feed on the right of this page when they’re available.

With all that covered, the only thing left to mention is….

Renwick Dinner 2010

The annual Renwick football dinner will once again be held in Barnabys, near Ballyclare. It will be on Monday 26 April, probably starting around 7.00-7.30 pm. It will cost £22 £20, payable to Andrew Morrison. If you want to go, if you could let me know before 16th April, that would be great, and just to be clear this is not just for the football team! If you’ve any other questions, just get in touch with me.

Disappointing Renwick held 2-2 by Donegal Rangers

11 Mar

Having not drawn in a competitive match since December 2008, a mediocre Renwick side were frustrated by Donegal Rangers on a cracking day for football at the Ozone. Despite last week’s 6-4 reversal at the hands of the Law Society, manager Andy Morrison stuck with the same starting lineup, Andy Lynch again deputising at centre-half, and Mark Porter donning the famous number 7 on the right wing. Robert Cromie took the whistle (and cards and notebook and special stopwatch/car keys) for the first period.

The sun may have been out, but judging by the fact that this man is fully clothed, there was still a chill in the air

The first half was a decidedly scrappy affair, and neither side was able to impose themselves on the game in the first 15 minutes. One of Rangers’ main attacking weapons was their long throws, and they weren’t arf bad. It was from one of these that Rangers opened the scoring, after McCullough saved well with his legs following a scramble in the 6-yard box, he was powerless to prevent the lobbed rebound sailing over him and into the net. The goal chastened Renwick, and they duly hit back midway through the first half. Mark Porter, who had been getting the better of his man on several occasions, once again found himself in space on the right, and delivered a dangerous diagonal ball across goal. The bounce eluded everyone, until Ian Buchanan adjusted his feet and cooly backheeled in at the back post, continuing his run of scoring in every game in 2010. The match continued in similarly scrappy fashion, with Rangers physical-but-fair approach meaning the Elmwood side were restricted to half-chances, Gavin Blackwell coming closest with a shot from 25 yards. Donegal were causing problems of their own with their direct approach, which had clearly been well honed over the season. With around 10 minutes left in the half, their approach paid off, as yet another long ball left the Renwick defence flat-footed. McCullough was quick off his line, but was beaten to the bouncing ball by the opposition striker, who lobbed the onrushing keeper with consummate ease. This was the last action of note in a dismal first half, possibly the worst of Renwick’s season.

Donegal's second

Manager Morrison shows his displeasure at the first half performance

Renwick emerged unchanged after the break, and came out all guns blazing, with several ambitious long-range efforts inside the first 5 minutes. McCaughan made way for Michael Hawthorne on 55 minutes, and three minutes later Renwick pulled back level again. Coincidence? Probably. Ben Hanna, channeling into affirmative action the rage he felt at there not being a match report for his (self-declared) man-of-the-match performance last week, played a delicious ball into Buchanan, who swiveled before playing in Mark McCavery, who calmy slotted past the keeper.

McCavery's well placed equaliser

Further changes ensued, with Morrison taking the whistle as Carson and Cromie came on for him and McCollum. It was a straight swap at right-back, while McCavery went to centre-half and Cromie slotted in up front. Philip Aicken soon followed them onto the field, replacing Blackwell in the middle of the park. Renwick continued to have the better of the action, as McCavery’s presence at the back negated the effect of Rangers’ long balls. There were several chances for Renwick to take the lead, with Cromie and Hawthorne both having shots cleared off the line. At the other end, there was still plenty for young McCullough to do, as he shook off the after effects of 40 pre-match laps to successfully take on the role of sweeping keeper. However, neither side were able to find a winner, and the match finished with a 2-2 scoreline.

No Renwick player covered themselves in glory, and while there were decent performances from McKelvey and Buchanan, there were many players on the park who are capable of better. Some encouragement was to be had from the performances of young subs Carson and Aicken, who are both staking their respective claims for starting berths next season. However, the man of the match award goes to Andy McKelvey, who once again added steel in the midfield, while creating attacking impetus with his driving forward runs.

He even threw in a stepover

Renwick’s next match sees them take on mid-table side Belfast Bible College, a game Morrison’s men must win if they are to have any chance of holding onto fourth place.

Renwick (4-2-3-1): 1. McCullough; 2. Morrison, 12. Lynch, 4. McCollum, 3. Hanna; 8. Blackwell, 6. McKelvey; 7. Porter, 10. Buchanan, 15. McCaughan; 9. McCavery. Subs: 11. Aicken, 14. Cromie, 16. Hawthorne, 17. Carson

More photos:

One of very few balls played into the area

Ben displays his aerial prowess. Pity about what goes on at ground level...

During the mixed martial arts contest, a game of football occasionally broke out


Cromie takes a crowd-pleasing tumble

This sums up the Renwick performance

Impotent Bayern Fail to Score in 5 Goal Defeat

18 Feb

Porter plays Ian through

  • Passing football rewarded with victory
  • Renwick keep first competitive clean sheet of the season
  • Cromie Joel makes an impressive debut

Renwick bounced back from their defeat to arch-rival Derryvolgie by recording an impressive 5-0 victory. The Elmwood team approached the game confidently having also scored five in a friendly against Bayern Eunuchs two weeks ago and were pleased to improve upon that result in this week’s competitive fixture by keeping a clean sheet. Gareth Smith returned at centre-back to play alongside Andy Lynch whilst Porter and Mitchell started on the wings in a 4-4-2 formation. Promising youngster Cromie Joel was handed a start in the centre of midfield where he partnered the more experienced Andy McKelvey. Coachwell had already indicated he wouldn’t be present until the second half but Morrison was surprised to only have 11 players present for kick-off and refused to comment after the game on whether the four latecomers would face club disciplinary proceedings.

McKelvey bossed the midfield on one leg

Renwick had the lion’s share of possession

Mitchell winning the ball

12 minutes after the game began a quick throw from Ian Buchanan found Joel Cromie inside the box who scored with first time volley low to the keeper’s right. This was an ideal start for the Donegal man whose partnership with McKelvey’s strength and poise dominated the centre of the park throughout the first half. Joel started the move from which Renwick doubled the lead skipping past an opponent in his own half before playing the ball down the right flank for Porter. The ball was then played into the feet of McCavery who squared the ball to Ian whose powerful shot deflected off the onrushing defender into the bottom righthand corner leaving the keeper stranded.

Renwick were really begining to find their stride playing the ball beautifully along the deck and it wasn’t long before another attack down the right wing yielded a third goal. Buchanan made a run into the channel and crossed to provide Mark with an easy tap in at the back post. In the 36th minute the team in black were fortunate to retain 11 men on the pitch as the Ethiopians (HT: SWS) used their pace to counter attack swiftly, last-man Lynch came across to tackle and completely failed to connect with the ball. Bizarrely the Eunuch’s ref told the players to continue much to the relief of the Bready defender, if the Renwick Pundit was superstitious I would suggest that it was because he was wearing the former skipper’s jersey. Otherwise Andy L gave a very solid defensive performance but will have been disappointed not to have scored a free header from a corner at the other end a few minutes later. Bayern survived another good corner delivery when Gareth Smith’s free header was cleared off the line but they failed to learn from the mistakes in their own area.  From the next set piece Renwick’s prolific centre-back was given another opportunity and made the score 4-0 before the interval.


At the break Morrison made sweeping changes with Cromie, Buchanan, Mitchell and Porter leaving the pitch whilst Ben Hanna took over as referee. Carson came on to the right wing, McCaughan on the left, Aicken and Blackwell in centre midfield whilst Hawthorne joined the strike force. Renwick failed to impose themselves on the game in the same way as they had dominated the first half but the Eunuchs could only respond with long hopeful balls aimed at their quick strikers. Michael Hawthorne had a well-finished goal controversially disallowed for offside and McCullough had to produce a save to keep out a sweetly hit Bayern freekick.

The lead was extended to five by Robert McCaughan whose pace had tortured his opposite number on several occasions. Hanna had been relieved of refereeing duties and  found the left winger with his throw, Rob skipped round the right back and placed the shot inside the right post. A few minutes later James was forced to use his feet to take the ball from the toes of the Eunuch striker but this was one of the last threats to the his goal. The last few minutes were fairly uneventful apart from Renwick’s marauding left back missing an opportunity at the back post. A five goal win was a fair reflection of Renwick’s dominance and the defence was delighted to keep their first competitive clean sheet of the season.  The title may now be beyond them but the Elmwood team still have important fixtures to play and all squad members will be keen to mount a strong finish despite several tricky fixtures remaining.

The next ad for Deep Riverrock


Lynch is so quick it’s a blur

Man of the Match: Ian Buchanan

Renwick House: McCullough, Morrison, Smith, Lynch, Hanna, Porter, Cromie, McKelvey, Mitchell, Buchanan, McCavery Subs: Blackwell, McCaughan, Hawthorne, Carson, Aicken

Scorers: Cromie, Buchanan, McCavery, Smith, McCaughan

Thanks to Rosemary and Heather for the photos.

Renwick lose to Derryvolgie in crucial league encounter

13 Feb

  • Derryvolgie come out in top in a traditional six-pointer
  • Renwick title hopes take a major blow despite encouraging performance
  • McCullough puts in a stand out performance to keep his team in it throughout

It was a brilliant day for sport

2010 got off to a bad start for Renwick in the Belfast Super League, falling to a narrow 3-2 defeat at the hands of rivals Derryvolgie. Fielding a weakened team, Renwick were confident that this match was winnable, although aware of the danger posed by a DV team who have been putting in some impressive results of late.  With fantastic weather conditions, a sandy looking pitch and the inspiration of having seen Invictus the night before for some of the team, Renwick were eager to get started and fight for the win from the start.

The Renwick team was built around a midfield partnership of Andrew Lynch and Mark Porter. Ian Buchanan and Mark McCavery provided the firepower in attack, while Chris Carson (so special he played with a numberless shirt!) and Philip Aicken were on the wings. Dave Smith replaced younger brother Gareth in defence, and Andrew Morrison returned at right-back. Robert McCaughan was unavailable due to ‘work’ commitments. Andrew McKelvey was forced to pull out, and not just from the Renwick squad. This game was the first start for both Aicken and Smith this season.

As Derryvolgie had acquired a new kit for the season, Morrison opted for Renwick to play in their change kit to avoid a potential colour clash. The Renwick kit man, Joel Loughridge, did an excellent job of ensuring that the white shirts were in pristine condition for the match, and it is only right we thank him for this.

The combination of white, navy, red, black and lime green was certainly an interesting one

Shortly after 2.30, Renwick kicked off on the same pitch as they played the Ministers on, playing towards the changing rooms in the first half. From the start it was clear that both teams had approached the game with a similar mentality, to not allow their opponents a second on the ball and to make it as hard as possible for them to play. In almost their first attack, DV felt aggrieved about a Steven McCollum challange, and were awarded a free kick. Considering the game had barely started, the aggresive response of the DV forward was hardly warrented. When the free kick was eventually taken the Renwick wall had advanced well beyond the mandatory 10 yards, resulting in the kick going high and wide. Despite witnessing all this, the referee saw no infringement and did not call for a retake.

Get your elbows out

For the next half hour, much of the play was in the Renwick half, with DV having a lot of possesion but in truth creating few chances. The Renwick defence were put under considerable pressure, especially from the wide players, but managed to weather the storm and create a solid platform for the midfield to work from. In the middle Andrew Lynch and Mark Porter often looked outnumbered, but stuck to their task diligently and worked tirelessly all day. The first half wingers, Chris Carson and Philip Aicken, spent much of their time helping out in defence, and so when Renwick did manage to put together an attack, they often found themselves behind the play and had to work hard to get involved in the final third.

With half time approaching and neither team having made a real impact on the game, Renwick slowly started to get into the game more. Mark McCavery took the ball to the by-line and managed to win a corner off the DV right-back. Ben Hanna swung the ball in, only to see it cleared for another corner from the other side. With Hanna again taking the corner, the result was the same. The Renwick left back trotted back over to take the third successive corner, and this time, after some bobbling about in the box, Ian Buchanan managed to poke the ball home. This came as a massive blow to DV who had seen much more of the ball than Renwick. The score remained the same until the half, not without McCullough getting a scare on the stroke of half time when a header from a corner came back off the bar and bobble about until Andrew Lynch took charge and sent it long.

The Renwick mood at half time was one of cautious optimism. The goal had been scored, and although the Presbyterians had made it far from easy, they had rarely threatened the Renwick goal. With the header that struck the bar aside, they had been mostly restricted to shots from distance and chasing long balls over the top of the defence, only to meet an in-form and on-rushing McCullough.

Playing into the setting sun, Renwick begun the half with Michael Hawthorne now playing on the left in place of Philip Aicken, who had taken up refereeing duties. Mark Porter was substituted shortly before the end of the first 45 with a bloody nose, but quickly recovered in time for the restart. Derryvolgie drew level within a few minutes of the half kicking off. From a Renwick goal kick, the ball was played out to the DV right midfielder who ran forward with the ball before slotting across goal to the unmarked player at the back post who reversed the direction of the ball and played it across McCullough who was left with no change. The Renwick full back, Morrison, found himself horribly out of position and was a mere spectator of the goal, unable to backtrack quickly enough.

Ben keeping an eye on his Dutch opponent

Derryvolgie continued to pressurise, forcing the goalkeeper into a string of excellent saves, one in particular where with his back to goal and dealing with the Morrison at close quarters, the DV left winger took a cross first time on his right foot, hooking it towards the Renwick goal. McCullough saw it late but managed to turn it round the post. Renwick were finding it very hard to link between midfield and attack, as the central midfielders were forced into taking up a very deep position. Neither McCavery or Buchanan saw much of the ball for the first 30 minutes of the half.

Another day with little joy up front

On 65 minutes Philip Aicken rejoined the action, slotting into midfield as Chris Carson joined the defence. Andrew Morrison saw out the remainder of the game as referee. Soon after, a poorly defended Renwick corner resulted in a DV player being left unmarked at the back post, allowing him to send a powerful header into the net. Judging by the celebrations, this goal was an important one, and what might well have been the winning goal. But Renwick were not going to go down without a fight..

Quite how this wasn’t given as a DV penalty is a mystery. Another Steven McCollum classic

A poor challenge on Philip Aicken 10 yards outside the DV box gave Renwick a chance to build an attack from a free kick. Ian Buchanan opted to shoot directly, and after having got his shot up over the wall and down in time, the keeper came and got himself in the way of it. Unfortunately for him, he did not keep control or even push it to safety, but let it roll out at the front of Mark Porter who duely finished, giving way to the wildest celebtrations this writer has ever seen at a Renwick game.

Shambolic defending, duly punished

Seven minutes from time, DV struck once more. From a throw in, Dave Smith misjudged the flight of the ball, and the lightning quick Derryvolgie forward latched onto the loose ball and calmly slotted the ball past the quickly advancing keeper. Another frustrating goal to concede for the Elmwood side, but maybe not entirely unexpected after 83 minutes of continuous defending, leaving the players at the back both physically and mentally exhausted. Renwick were unable to create any meaningful chances after the goal, and the final score remained at 3-2 to Derryvolgie.

Losing 3-2 to Derryvolgie is very painful, although I’m sure that those who were there would agree that this scoreline is probably a fair representation of the game. There are plently of “what-if”s you could say about this game, but the truth is over the 90 minutes Derryvolgie were better in almost every part of the pitch and ultimately, just wanted it more. The team will look forward to playing Bayern Eunchs again next week, and know that a performance like the one given against Derryvolgie would be good enough to beat most teams.

Renwick have now dropped to 4th in the BSL, sitting 6 points off the lead. Further details here

Thanks to our supporters, it’s appreciated. Also loving the fact you guys did this:


Man of the Match

James McCullough – pulled off a number of fine saves on the day and has more than earned it over the course of the season

I realise that this report is very very late.

Other craic:

Ben has been practising using The Force lately

…and taking corners

DV’s midfield genius. We didn’t get close

See you next week