Banbridge RFC Notes: Last minute kick denies Fifths IV XV 13 v Enniskillen RFC III XV 16 + Allen scores three on return to action III XV 48 v Coleraine RFC II XV 14

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Allen scores three on return to action
BANBRIDGE 3RDs 48 Coleraine 2nds 14
October 27, 2012

Bann Thirds were still on a high from their convincing win over Ballymoney last Saturday when they ran out at home against another league topping side, Coleraine Seconds.

Despite having lost a few players from their team, Bann were still confident taking the field – and well they might have been.

Bann were awarded a penalty in the Coleraine half shortly after kick-off and captain and out-half Francois Viljoen slotted the conversion for an early three point lead.

Bann retained a lot of ball and only sloppy handling prevented them crossing the Coleraine line, until eventually Jordan Weir went over in the corner on 20 minutes for a very well taken try. Viljoen stepped up and added the extras with a fantastic conversion from the touchline.

Bann continued to dominate all aspects of the game. Pack leader Paul Ross was hitting his jumpers every time in the lineout, and Elliot Bell at blind-side flanker, the mighty Andy Davidson at No 8 and lock Chris Allen took it to the opposition.

It was Allen, ultimately Man-of-the-Match, who scored the next try when he was on hand to touch down on 27 minutes. The accurate Viljoen took the extra two points to extend his side’s lead to 17 points.

With the pack dominant, the backs found themselves with a lot of ball. Scrum half Colin Hamilton was a revelation and his speed of pass gave Viljoen and centres Marc Stevenson and Chrissy Craig lots of space to attack the Coleraine defence. With a potent back three of Jordie Weir, Andy Kirkwood and Calum Boland, they continually split open the Coleraine defence.

Open side wing forward Matthew Bird was always the link man between backs and forwards, and when he provided that link for Allen, the big second row set off on a 40 metre run for the line. He crashed over for his second try, which Viljoen narrowly failed to convert.

Just before half time, Bann relaxed and let Coleraine in for a soft try which they converted to leave the half time score at 22-7.

Five minutes into the new half, Allen was to make it a hat-trick when he yet again set off through the opposition, with the try line his only target.

On the hour, with Bann now dominating every aspect of the game, Ross was on hand to finish off a great move with a try in the corner, with Viljoen added the extras.

Props Sam Boyd and Kris Campbell were dominating the scrums, with a lot of assistance from Ross Semple. It was from a Bann scrum on the Coleraine “22” that Davidson made a super break, well supported by the tireless Bird who forced his way over the chalk for a very well deserved try. Viljoen’s conversion put his side 43-7 ahead.

After a slack period, during which Coleraine went in for a second converted try, Bann threw everything at their opponents in one last big attack. Dynamic winger Weir, after another great backline move, forced his way over the line for the final try. For just the second time in the afternoon Viljoen failed to add the extras.

Although the whole team was magnificent on the day, there were particularly pleasing performances form Davidson, Bird, Hamilton, Craig, Weir and Kirkwood. But Allen capped them all with a five star display.

Last minute kick denies Fifths
BANBRIDGE 5THs 13 Enniskillen 3rds 16
October 27, 2012

On Saturday Bann Fifths entertained the current table toppers in the Minor South league, Enniskillen Thirds.

However it was Bann who were playing the better rugby in the opening exchanges and with the Bann pack rucking effectively they drove into the ‘Skins’ “22”. The referee awarded Bann a penalty which Jackson duly dispensed for a three point lead.

The match was very competitive with both sets of forwards struggling to impose any authority on the other. The Bann forwards continued their hard work in the loose and from strong counter-rucking they secured possession and moved the ball through their back line. Jackson took the ball into the opposing “22” and set up quick ruck ball which was moved through the scrum half to Andy Kennedy. The big No 8 got quickly into his stride to out-pace the covering defence and touch down under the posts. Jackson added the extras to put Bann ten points up. A further penalty for “killing the ball” allowed Jackson to push the score on to 13 – 0 by half time.

Following the half-time turnaround Enniskillen began to show their class and their pack were starting to break the gain line, with their No 8 testing the Bann tackling. However the front row of Richard McElroy, Gareth Briggs and Darren McAlinden were tackling all in front of them. The Bann forwards put the ‘Skins’ line-out under pressure and indeed when the visitors had a lineout in the Bann “22” it was the Bann men who won the leap for the ball. However, rather than secure this crucial possession and clear their lines somehow a bobbling ball was secured by the Enniskillen forwards and they drove to within eight metres and won a penalty. Rather than take the three easy points their No 8 tapped and drove over for a try, with the conversion falling short.

Bann were under all types of pressure but seemed to be dealing with it, and indeed when Andy Cowan skipped clear and ran 30 metres to off-load, it looked like Bann would score again but a poor decision let them down.

Minutes later the Enniskillen out-half broke through his would-be tackler and ran clear, evading the Bann full-back to score a try that again went unconverted. Indeed, up until that point the ‘Skins’ kicker was having a wretched time but that was all to change. With a penalty awarded a good 30 metres out he sent the kick sailing over the posts to level the score at 13 points apiece.

With the game into the last 10 minutes it was nerve wracking for all Bann supporters. However the Bann forwards kept up their work rate and with their opposition over-keen to get their hands on the ball the referee awarded a penalty inside the Enniskillen “22” for “hands in the ruck”. Rather than take the simple kick Bann tried to run the ball and it came to nothing. One further penalty to Bann, which they did attempt, was missed by the fullback.

With only minutes remaining Enniskillen won their own penalty and with what proved to be the final act of the game their kicker slotted it over to win the match. Despite playing well throughout the game Bann lost this encounter due to poor decision making and a high penalty count.

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