REPORT Nutty Krust Tournament Banbridge U18’s v Ballynahinch U18’s by Barney McGonigle

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Nutty Krust Tournament Banbridge U18’s v Ballynahinch U18’s 27th January 2016

The first game in the 2016 series of games in the 37th Nutty Krust Floodlit Tournament got underway when Banbridge U18’s and Ballynahinch U18’s played out an entertaining game at Chamber’s Park on 27th January. The Banbridge U18 team emerged as 17-0 winners but they were made to work hard for their win by a dogged Ballynahinch team.

The Banbridge team started the game on the front foot and dominated the opening proceedings for the first seven minutes. They attacked the Ballynahinch line at every opportunity only to be thwarted by resolute ‘Hinch defence. That was until Martin Shirlow, Ben Jameson and Aaron Duggan combined to eventually set up a 5m scrum for the Banbridge team. The strong scrum provided the platform for No 8, Andrew Neill, to launch an attack which finished with him scoring a try to give the Banbridge team a 5-0 lead. This became 7-0 when loose head prop, Martin Shirlow, added the conversion. The Ballynahinch team responded positively to this early setback and took the game deep into Banbridge territory. They launched a series of attacks from both set piece and broken play but, despite having a one man advantage for seven minutes, they could find no way through the Banbridge defence. Robin Sinton relieved the pressure with a great run out of defence which took play into the opposition 22m area. Quickly recycled ball was used effectively by the Banbridge forwards and Alex Finney stormed over the whitewash to touch down for a try. The conversion kick was unsuccessful but the Banbridge team had a 12-0 lead with twenty minutes on the clock. Both teams were determined to stay in attack mode whenever the opportunities arose but the remainder of the half saw the defences on top which ensured it was the Banbridge team that took their 12-0 lead into the break.

The Ballynahinch team, with the cold wind in their backs, started the second half very brightly. The controlled territory and possession for long periods of time with players such as Jamie Hewitt, Jamie Dornan, James Millar, Jason Lyons and Ryan Murphy all asking questions of the Banbridge defence. That defence was well-organised and, along with their strong scrum, it ensured the Banbridge team was going to let nothing through. Midway through the second period the Banbridge team did manage to get out of their ”Red Zone” and it was that man Robin Sinton again! He led the charge out of defence and his great pace and awareness took play deep into Ballynahinch territory. He combined well with Ben Jameson, Jordan Pickering and Alistair McDowell in a move which finished with the Banbridge team being awarded a 5m scrum. The ball was won and moved effectively to Harry Proctor who was delighted to score a try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Banbridge lead had increased to 17-0 with just minutes of the game remaining. Once again, both teams were determined to play positive rugby but no further points were scored. This ensured it was the Banbridge U18 team that finished the game as 17-0 winners.

Following the game the traditional Nutty Krust post-match function took place in the Portadown RFC Clubhouse. Both teams, as well as their officials, had a post-match meal which was organised by Calvin Rowe, a member of the Nutty Krust organising committee. The meal was sponsored by Jim Hewitt of Jim Hewitt Meats and made by Andrew Forker and the staff of “Scrummies” the caterers in Portadown Rugby Club. Brian Irwin, Chairman of Irwin’s Bakery presented the “Man of the Match” Award to Banbridge player, Robin Sinton. All players and officials were then presented with a Nutty Krust loaf in keeping with a tradition that has been in place for the duration of the Nutty Krust Tournament.


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