Winning form returns against CIYMS
In this important fixture, it was Bangor who took the victory against CIYMS by 22-5 resulting in the two sides swapping places in the league.
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Bangor got the game underway, kicking off into a stiff breeze. Within 3 minutes, Bangor conceded the first penalty of the game, which CIYMS elected to kick for goal, but failed to convert. The Bangor back line looked sharp, with Davy Charles coming in from full back to break the CIYMS line and set up a promising attack. James Henly came close but the CIYMS defence was sound.
The Bangor pack had seen a number of changes as the result of ongoing injury problems, but it performed well in both scrum and lineout set pieces. In fact it was from a lineout after just 9 minutes that the ball was cleanly won and passed quickly to Jason Morgan at out half, who produced another great line to wrong foot the CIYMS defence and ghost in to score under the posts. The conversion was successfully taken by Neil Cuthbertson, putting Bangor into the lead by 7-0.
This gave Bangor the boost they needed, and they continued to dominate play. After a further 6 minutes, from a scrum just inside the CIYMS half, scrum half Craig Harper passed to Morgan who then off-loaded to Mike Aspley in the centre. Although tackled, he managed to get the ball to Phil Whyte who had followed up from propping in the scrum. Drawing the defending tacklers, he then passed to flanker James Henly who burst through to run in unopposed for Bangor’s second try under the posts. Again, the simple kick was converted by Cuthbertson, doubling the lead to 14-0.
CIYMS responded well, using the wind advantage wisely to bring play repeatedly back into Bangor’s territory, but mistakes at crucial periods of play denied them any meaningful scoring opportunities. Bangor, on the other hand, stuck to their plan and continued to apply pressure. This soon forced CIYMS to concede a kickable penalty, which Cuthbertson converted to increase the lead to 17-0 after 23 minutes of play.
However, just 3 minutes later, the referee showed the yellow card to captain Jamie Clegg after he was judged to have deliberately knocked on the ball while defending a CIYMS attack. From the subsequent penalty, CIYMS passed the ball wide to the left and made a push for the line. What looked like a certain try was prevented by great Bangor defending, as they managed to hold the ball up and win the turnover.
Within minutes of Clegg’s return from the sin bin, the circumstances that led to his penalty were repeated, this time by Jason Morgan who similarly was shown the referee’s yellow card. From this penalty, the CIYMS players didn’t make the same mistake as before, and finally managed to touch down for a try in the left hand corner. The difficult kick was missed, but CIYMS were now on the scoreboard, reducing Bangor’s lead to 17-5 as the first half drew to a close.
As the teams turned around and CIYMS got the second half underway, hopes were high that Bangor would build on their first half tries and use the wind to keep their opponents pinned down in their own twenty two. However, it’s fair to say that CIYMS came out the stronger and frustrated Bangor’s attacks, while moving the ball through their backs with more purpose and accuracy.
It was not until 30 minutes had been played that the second half deadlock was broken. From a long CIYMS clearance kick, the ball was safely taken by Harper inside his own half. Two long and quickly made passes, saw the ball move via Jason Morgan to Davy Charles whose pace was too much for the thinly spread CIYMS defence. Running wide, he rounded the final CIYMS players to score on the right hand side. Cuthbertson’s kick was just wide of the posts, but Bangor were now 3 tries to the good, and within sight of another bonus point victory.
However, just 2 minutes later, and with CIYMS moving back into Bangor territory, the game produced another sting for the home side. In his attempt to intercept a long CIYMS pass, he knocked the ball forward and stopped the CIYMS attack. The referee deemed this to be deliberate once again and produced a second yellow card which in turn led to a red card, and Morgan was to take no further part in the game. Stung by this set-back, and with just 8 minutes remaining, Bangor re-grouped and wisely focussed on defending their lead and denying CIYMS any further scoring chances. This they did, and as the final whistle was blown, they could celebrate a return to winning ways, and a return to their previously held 3rd position in the league.
This was an encouraging team performance that should give added confidence as the players now set their sights on the first round of the Towns Cup (next weekend, at home to City of Derry 2nds), followed by a challenging journey to league leaders Clogher Valley in the league afterwards.
Bangor side: P Whyte, A Jackson, J Leary (J Harrison), A Rushe, D Kelly, J Henly, R Latimer, J Clegg (c), C Harper, J Morgan, M Widdowson, M Aspley, C Morgan (G Caughey), N Cuthbertson, D Charles
Subs: J Harrison, G Caughey
Bangor scores: J Morgan (1T), J Henly (1T), D Charles (1T), N Cuthbertson (2C, 1P)