Sports

Town prove too strong for Bann Seconds

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

BANBRIDGE Seconds fell at the first hurdle in this season's Towns' Cup, going down to a hard-running Randalstown side in Saturday's first round game.

Randalstown ...35
Banbridge Seconds ...22

Maybe the visitors thought it was going to be all too easy when they scored a try after just 30 seconds, with 18-year-old winger Jamie Ewing touching down after Bann took advantage of a Randalstown knock-on from the kick-off.

But if they did Randalstown had other ideas as they hit back with a try of their own just seven minutes later and converted it for a 7-5 lead.

The pivotal point in the game came just 10 minutes before the break.

Bann won a penalty under the 'Town posts but opted for the scrum rather than take the three points on offer. When the ball was moved from the base of the set piece a defender intercepted and kicked downfield with Bann forced to concede a scrum under their posts.

The race to a neat grubber into the in-goal was won by the 'Town centre and the conversion gave the home side a 14-5 lead going into the interval when it could easily have been 7-8 in Bann's favour.

Bann knew the importance of getting the next score but their below-par tackling allowed the home back row to make deep inroads into the Bann half.

And with support there in numbers a third converted try took Randalstown 16 points clear with 48 minutes played.

That was a challenging enough target but when Randalstown fielded the restart and bludgeoned their way through the midfield defence to allow their right winger to cross the try line for a 28-5 lead, the writing was well and truly on the wall.

With Bann conceding a string of penalties at the breakdown the home side was able to stay on the front foot and a fifth converted try followed before the hour.

The visitors finally started to achieve some continuity in their play and full-back Conor Field rounded off a fine backline move to cross for his side's second try with 10 minutes left.

Ben Cross then went in for his side's third try four minutes from time, with Jeff Dodds converting and as Bann went on the attack from the restart Dale Carson crossed the 'Town line from the final move of the game.

That late flurry of scoring gave the scoreline a degree of respectability but there was never any chance of Bann overhauling a Randalstown side who will deservedly take their place in the quarter final draw.

Bann coach Gareth Bronte said he was very disappointed with his team's performance in the first 60 minutes of the game.

“It was really only in the final quarter that we showed the form that we're capable of," he said afterwards.

“On paper we had a strong side out, but with so many changes to the side we just didn't gel until it was too late.

“There was a lack of organisation and although we had a few seasoned players with AIL experience some of them were having their first outing for several weeks.

“Once we settled and got into the groove we showed that we were capable of playing some decent rugby.

“We'll be starting the Second XV League campaign next week so hopefully we can bounce on from that last 20 minutes and make an impression in that league."

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