Banbridge RFC Notes: Flanagan impresses as U13 score eight at Lurgan RFC

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Lurgan B 0 BANBRIDGE U13s 59

Banbridge played their second game in the cup away at Lurgan Tigers ground. On arrival the place was buzzing, a family fun day was in full swing and several of the team saw a bouncy castle from the coach as we arrived and forgot we were there to play rugby! Leader of the pack to go bouncing was Charlie Wright, who convinced Jamie Mullan that it would be “wicked”.

Luckily the organisers prevented any such activity and the team were herded into the changing rooms. The lads felt uneasy about the task ahead, Charlie Jones (skipper) was missing on a ski trip, John Buller had not recovered from injury and Dan McBurney was taken ill the night before. This was a must win game and after a good training session on Wednesday, the tension could be felt in the warm up. And what a glorious day for running rugby.

Tom Flanagan had impressed at training and was selected to play fly half, this turned out to be his match of the season. With Troy Pinion and Jack Dolaghan pairing in the centre the coach felt the game plan should be to get quick ball to the backs. In the absence of both captain and vice captain Jack Myles took the reins for this game, relishing in the warm up and insisting on total concentration.

Bann kicked off and were soon on the offensive, a powerful scrum and subsequent ruck resulted in Tom passing the ball to Troy Pinion who pinned his ears back and sprinted under the posts – an early score that settled the nerves. The conversion by Adam Buller added confidence (7 – 0). Within a few minutes of the restart Bann forwards counter-rucked and won quick ball, Haydn Kerr fed Jack Dolaghan on the halfway line, Jack then sprinted outside the covering defence and scored an excellent try in the corner (12 – 0)

The Bann forwards continued to scrummage and ruck with an intensity not seen this season. Charlie Wright stole the ball 25 metres out and touched down under the posts, the conversion from Jamie Mullan (19 – 0).

Perhaps over confident Bann stepped off the gas and allowed Lurgan B back into the game with no further score for 10 minutes. Then, following a stolen line out and an attack down the middle by Alistair McDowell, the ball broke to Charlie Wright who scored a second try, converted by Adam (26 – 0). From the kick off Bann secured good ball, Matthew Neil powered through the middle and from the maul the ball was taken on by Jordan McKibbin. He passed out of the tackle to Tom Flanagan freeing Troy who made good ground before passing to Haydn Kerr 10 metres out after good support play. Haydn crashed over (31 – 0). This was to be the try of the day!

Bann were in total control and Lurgan struggled as Tom set the backs up several times, and when it seemed like Alexander Brown would score in the corner the ref gave Bann a penalty for offside. Quick thinking by Jamie Mullan allowed him to tap and score. Tom Flanagan converted from near the touch line to the amazement of his team mates (38 – 0). Guess who will be kicking from now on!!

Half time and a chance to bring on some fresh legs. It didn’t take long for Bann to increase the score, a knock on by Lurgan was picked up by Troy who ran threequarters of the pitch to score, converted by Tom (45 – 0).

Again Bann continued to press and after some good tackling won the ball on the halfway line. Troy sprinted towards the line and unselfishly passed to Jack Myles 5 metres out for Jack to score under the posts (hat trick avoidance not to be encouraged). Tom again converted (52 – 0).

To complete the scoring Bann won a line out on halfway, the ball picked up by Charlie Wright who, ignoring the backs ran his “arch” and scored under the posts again securing himself a hat trick of tries. Tom again converted and walked off with a 100% kicking record. Not only that but he made two telling breaks of his own when under pressure and ensured that Troy the Flyer was given good ball. Tom Flanagan was named man of the match and deservedly so.

Confidence is a great thing and the lads sang their hearts out in the changing room, all extremely pleased with the performance. Coach Mick tried his best to sing “Sweet Chariot” but was drowned out by the “rowdy” youths, who on leaving the clubhouse again tried their luck at the bouncy castle without success.

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