Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Distraught Dragons blow their chance over Hurricanes

A penalty awarded from the final play of a fluctuating UAE Premiership play-off and a smart finish by Tometski pips the Dragons at the post.

JEBEL ALI // A penalty awarded from the final play of a fluctuating UAE Premiership play-off provided an ice-cool James Tometski with the chance to snatch a dramatic victory for Dubai Hurricanes over their local rivals Dubai Dragons last night.

It seemed as though Premiership form was going to prevail as the Dragons, winners of all of their six matches in the mini-league, regained the lead in the final minute through the second of their full-back Tim Fletcher's well-taken tries.

That smart finish from a sweeping Dragons move transformed a four-point deficit into a 28-27 advantage, putting enormous pressure on their fly-half Andy Russell to extend the lead from the conversion.

Agonisingly for the Dragons, the kick drifted wide in what had for the entire match been a troublesome wind, leaving the home team vulnerable to a late riposte from their opponents.

So it proved as the Dragons failed to gather the ball cleanly from the restart and then, while down to 14 men following the late yellow-carding of Sandy Burley, committed a disastrous scrummaging offence which provided Tometski's decisive moment.

The last-gasp triumph sets up the jubilant Hurricanes for a trophy-winning treble as they now go forward to play Doha in the West Asia play-off in three weeks' time and also face Bahrain in what could be a Gulf Top Six-clinching fixture.

"We will be going all out to make it a three-timer," said Steve Holohan, their emotionally drained coach. He praised the Hurricanes players for the work they have put in all season, initially under their previous coach, Brian Allen, to create this platform for amassing silverware.

"The boys never give up and kept going to the end. I'm so proud of them," he said.

Holohan's unbridled joy at the end contrasted sharply with the inconsolable Dragons camp. Bruce Birtwistle, who shares the coaching with centre Shane Thornton, said: "The boys are gutted. They knew that all they had to do was kill the ball in that last play to take the glory but, sadly, they were unable to do it."

The Dragons paid for not making the most of the big advantage the strong breeze gave them in the first half; a 13-7 lead was not enough.

The wind was heavily in favour of Russell, the Dragons fly-half, in landing two first-half penalties and it dissuaded Tometski, the Hurricanes full-back, from attempting a penalty goal from inside the opposing 22-metre line after he had missed an earlier one from a similar position.

Harry Woods, the Crusaders centre, was first to cross after a clever lay off from Garret Noonan a couple of metres from the line. Tometski landed the easy conversion to put his side in front.

Five minutes later, Fletcher, the Dragons' full-back, profited when the ball squirted out kindly from a ruck 10 metres out and he was left with an unopposed run towards the post. Russell's conversion was a formality.

The lead changed hands four more times before the end with Fletcher and Woods both adding to their first-half tries and Russell raising his personal haul to 18 points with the try of the match following an interception of a kick-through and a 55-metre race to the line.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National