Bangor RFC Notes I XV 13 v Ballymoney RFC I XV 13 + Youth Rugby U13 & U15 Resumes This Sunday!

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Youth rugby resumes
By Roger Corbett, 4th Nov 2013

Under 15 and Under 13 youth rugby sections recommence this Sunday.

Youth rugby resumes
Youth Rugby will resume at the Club after half term on 10th November 2013 commencing at mid-day and finishing at 1:30pm. Coaching will be provided for two age groups namely, Under 15 (Years 10 and 11) and Under 13 (Years 8 and 9). Numbers for the older groups have been good already this season and it is hoped that the arrival of additional players after the half term break will enable fixtures to be arranged.

All players, old and new, will be made very welcome.

Sat 2nd Nov, 2:30pm. Kukri Qualifying 1. Ballymoney 20 – 13Bangor
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Muddle in the puddles at Ballymoney
by Roger Corbett

On a wet, dark and miserable afternoon at Kilraughts Road, it was Ballymoney who both handled the playing conditions better and took their chances to win by 20-13, with Bangor just managing to hold on for a losing bonus point.

With rain pouring down on an already soaked playing surface, Bangor got the game underway. From the outset, the home side used their weight in the forwards to drive into Bangor’s half. This, combined with some good kicking from hand, kept Bangor pinned down for the first 5 minutes of the game. Eventually Bangor managed to regain possession and composure and set up an attack of their own. This resulted in a penalty as the Ballymoney players strayed offside. Jason Morgan stepped up and converted this to put Bangor ahead by 0-3, slightly against the run of play.

With play seemingly limited to pick and drives, backed up with some positional kicking, the game swung to and fro until after 15 minutes Bangor returned the penalty compliment, again for an offside infringement. The kick was wide of the mark, keeping the score at 0-3.

With neither side showing much in the way of imagination, it was obvious luck was going to play a large part in deciding this game. After 30 minutes of play, Ballymoney hoisted a speculative kick into Bangor’s twenty two. With neither side claiming the ball in the air, it bounced high over the head of Bangor’s defence. A Ballymoney player managed to tap the ball to his right, where one of their props was waiting to gather and run in unchallenged and score close to the posts. With the simple conversion, Ballymoney were now in front by 7-3.

A few minutes later, the home side had an opportunity to extend their lead with another penalty opportunity, but this was missed. As the first half drew to a close, Bangor made a number of pushes towards the Ballymoney line, but were denied by a combination of stout home defence and poor handling at crucial moments. However, as the sides turned around with the score at 7-3, it looked like anybody’s game.

Bangor made a good start to the second half, and within a few minutes were rewarded with a penalty which Morgan successfully kicked to reduce the deficit to 7-6. However, this was quickly cancelled out following a strange decision to penalise Bangor in a defensive scrum after the home side’s front row stood up. The kick was successfully taken to put Ballymoney ahead by 10-6.

Ballymoney were boosted by this and dominated the following 10 minutes of play, eventually winning another penalty to extend their lead to 13-6. With still only one score in it, Bangor responded well and fought back to lay siege to the Ballymoney line. Having won a penalty, Bangor chose to kick to touch and then drive for the line from the resulting lineout. However, Ballymoney were repeatedly penalised as they used whatever it took to prevent Bangor from crossing the line. The referee eventually yellow carded one of the Ballymoney players, but they had weathered the storm and Bangor ended up with nothing to show for their efforts.

With only a few minutes of playing time remaining, the game took an unexpected twist. With Ballymoney playing a safe positional kicking game, Bangor were being forced to run the ball back from their own twenty two. With spaced to play, Bangor looked like making a ‘show and go’. However, the ball was suddenly passed wide, catching the receiver unawares and resulted in a dropped ball. To compound the mistake, the Bangor players appeared completely flat-footed, allowing Ballymoney to charge forward, kick through and dive on the ball to score an unlikely try. The added conversion put the score at 20-6, and Bangor’s losing bonus point was now gone.

If the Bangor heads dropped at this costly mistake, it was for a brief moment only. To their credit, and having shown little of what they are capable of so far, they finally produced a coherent attack which resulted in a score for the determined Jamie Clegg, just to the left of Ballymoney’s posts. Morgan made sure of the kick to bring the score to 20-13, and restore Bangor’s losing bonus point.

With the referee indicating the final play of the game, Bangor then contrived to undo their hard work by giving away another penalty, this time in front of the posts, but some distance out. However, Ballymoney were unable to convert the kick, earning Bangor the consolation bonus point.

This fixture is one that Bangor will want to forget. The poor playing conditions were partly to blame, but these were just the same for Ballymoney. Thankfully, there is now time for both players and coaches to review what went wrong and ensure a more organised and cohesive performance is delivered in two week’s time when they host UUC at Upritchard Park.

Bangor side: P Whyte, A Jackson, J Harrison, F Black, R Corbett, G Coughey, J Clegg (c), C Stewart, R Armstrong, M Thompson, M Widdowson, J Morgan, M Aspley, N Cuthbertson, D Charles

Subs: R Latimer, P Nicol

Bangor scores: J Morgan (2P, 1C), J Clegg (1T)

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