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Lack of match fitness for Thirds to blame for loss

Bann Thirds8

Dromore Seconds15

BANN Thirds coach Andrew Craig said after Saturday's (8 September) game at Rifle Park that he was “disappointed but not despondent”.

His team lost out to local rivals Dromore Seconds in the opening game of their Provincial League campaign, but the coach said his side suffered from not having had a warm-up game.

“We were very sluggish in the first half and our first-up tackling was particularly poor. But after the break I thought we had much the better of the play.

“But even then our lack of match fitness meant that we weren’t able to capitalise on good field position with poor support play negating promising field position.

“Fair play to Dromore, they defended their lead very well, limiting us to just a three-point return from all our pressure.”

Dromore converted an early penalty opportunity before crossing the home line for an unconverted try. Bann hit back with winger Troy Pinion doing exceptionally well to beat two defenders and sprint 30 metres for an unconverted try.

But by the interval the visitors were 5-15 ahead, thanks to a second try and conversion.

Bann pounded at the Dromore line for long periods after the break but had to be content with the losing bonus point earned courtesy of Gareth Hutton’s penalty.

Craig picked out lock Alex Shannon for an “immense display” in which “he carried a serious amount of ball”.

He said that prop Christian Trimble had also put in a great shift, while skipper William Taylor led from the front throughout with his ball-carrying and defensive work.

“The lads will take great encouragement from that second half display - there’s certainly plenty to build on,” said the coach.

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