All posts by Hannah Spratt

Donaghadee RFC Making History.

Some of the players of Donaghadee RFC.
Donaghadee RFC move from strength to strength.

Donaghadee Rugby Club have their celebrations in full swing after beating Ballynahinch RFC to make it the prestigious Towns Cup Final for the first time in fifty-five years.

The game started off on the right foot for the men in red and green, with Donaghadee first to put points on the sheet, with a great penalty by Nigel Barker in the fourth minute of play. Donaghadee continued to show great dominance and determination in the early stages of the game, narrowly missing a second penalty by Barker in the 9th minute.

Ballynahinch RFC began to fight back, and got the first opportunity to move the ball along their backline in the 15th minute of the game. This attack was stopped by a knock on from the left winger, Chris Savage, which brought a dangerous attack to an end.

After this great spell of play from Hinch, and the fight back from Donaghadee – both sets of supporters started to rally up and get behind their teams, creating a real Donaldson Park atompshere at times. The tenacious Donaghadee captain Alastair Lockhart led by example and was not short of ball carrying options in Cooke, Deboys, Hamilton, Johnston and company, each of which started to successfully wear down the Hinch defence one pass at a time.

Alastair Lockhart was in great control of his Donaghadee side from the start, leading by example with his rapid pace. Lockhart was sure to get quick ball to his support runners and when space opened up, the backline was able to started moving the ball down the line with both Allen and Alexander  proving to be threatening in the first quarter of the pitch. This drive by Lockhart proved crucial in controlling the pace of play, and the men in red and green managed to gain the first try of the game in the 32nd minute, David Murray being the man to touch down.

The second half of the game saw a deflated Ballynahinch side take to the pitch. More scores from the men in red and green proved critical for the morale of the away team. Donaghadee took full advantage of this dip in confidence from Hinch, using the substitute bench to introduce fresh legs to the game to help extend the Dee lead further.

The final stages of the game did see a more fighting Hinch side shine through. The away side began to enjoy their share of possession, however given the score line they were forced to keep ball in hand and try to manufacture any potential scoring opportunities from Donaghadee who were comfortably in the lead at this stage.

A penalty from the away side, caused some noise on the sidelines from the Hinch supporters, however the dominance by the Dee in the first half of the game was invaluable, and the men in red and green finished with a 16 point lead when the final whistle was blown in Donaldson Park.


Hannah Spratt


Harrisons Hauls Top Marks.

The awarding winning farm shop and restaurant.
The awarding winning farm shop and restaurant.

Last Sunday marked Mother’s Day for many women, but more significantly for me, it marked my annual trip to Harrison’s farm shop and restaurant– a visit my mum and I would make on this special weekend each year.

The farm friendly, family-run restaurant is perfectly nestled on the picturesque hills of Strangford Lough on the outskirts of Greyabbey, County Down. The newly refurbished restaurant offers an early bird and bistro menu, in comfortable modern surroundings, giving diners the opportunity to reflect on the award winning views this hidden gem has to offer.

The restaurant was very busy when we arrived and it was clear from the long queue that I was not the only daughter who had picked this place for a Mothers Day treat. Despite the fifteen minute wait, Mum and I were shown to a window seat, by a very knowledgeable and friendly waitress, Carol. While we both glanced over the lunch menu, we could hear the faint sound of an Irish folk group playing traditional Irish music. The Irish group transported us to what felt like a pub in a back street of Dublin city, and it was clear by the foot stamping of fellow diners that they too, had been transported to a similar place.

The Menu was fantastic value, and offered a two course deal for £14.95 per person, an offer both mum and I availed of. For starter, we both ordered the homemade soup of the day and wheaten bread. The soup was packed full of fresh vegetables that had been grown in the green house that was adjacent to the restaurant.  I was particularly impressed the restaurant offered a ‘gluten free’ wheaten bread alternative to the soup. As I am coeliac – I was appreciative of this, as it was this attention to detail that had often been overlooked in many other restaurants I had recently visited. Both satisfied with our starters, it was time for our main courses. Mum ordered Pan seared chicken in a white wine mushroom cream, accompanied with hand-cut chips.  The chicken was beautifully displayed on a quirky, vintage styled purple ceramic plate. The white wine mushroom sauce arrived separately in a dainty jug, allowing diners to decide how much, or how little they were to divulge in.  The dish was presented well, and the portion was more than adequate for one person. I ordered the Roast silverside of beef, with Yorkshire pudding and vegetables. Again, the portion was of a good size, and the wait between courses was not substantial despite how busy the restaurant was.

Once again, Carol my waitress remembered my dietary requirements from the starter, and offered a gluten free gravy to accompany my beef. When the meal arrived it was perfectly cooked, succulent and well presented. The vegetables, were slightly undercooked for my liking, but this was only a minor criticism I had for what overall was a great dining experience. After finishing our main course, we sat back and enjoyed once of the most tranquil and peaceful settings Northern Ireland has to offer.

As a dining experience, Harrisons of Greyabbey once again, did not disappoint. It displays a great example of home-cooking in a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. The location of this restaurant is second to none and has one of the best panoramic views Northern Ireland has to offer, with great portion sizes and even better value for money. I am counting down the days to next Mothers Day already.

Hannah Spratt