|23 Aug||2.00pm||U18s||Ulster U17s||HOME|
The President of the Irish Rugby Football Union, Mr Louis Magee, will be the special guest on Saturday when Banbridge mark the official opening of their newly refurbished pitch. The ambitious local club has spent over £100,000 bringing the pitch up to All-Ireland League standard and providing additional car parking. Banbridge President Alan Harvey said that this latest development of the club’s facilities had only come about because of support from the local Council and the IRFU. “We were able to benefit from a grant provided by Banbridge District Council and a loan supported by the IRFU,” he said as he anticipated Saturday’s events. “We still had to put in a major fundraising effort and in that we had great support from all sections of the club and the local community. We intend to play all our All-Ireland League games on the new pitch but of course our mini and youth sections will also be able to avail of the excellent playing surface during the season.” As well as the IRFU President, British Lion Rory Best will also be in attendance from 2.30-3.30pm and the Six Nations Trophy won by the international side last season will be on display. The action kicks off at 2.00pm when Banbridge U-18s will take on Ulster U-17s. That will be followed at 4.00pm by the main event, with Banbridge tackling local rivals Ballynahinch. At half –time in the senior game, Banbridge U-10s and U-11s will tackle their ‘Hinch counterparts. With the AIL season kicking off earlier than ever the senior sides will want to make the most of this opportunity to test their match-readiness. Bann travelled to Shaw’s Bridge last Friday and recorded a win over Instonians on an eight-two try margin. Bann Coach Daniel Soper was pleased with the way his squad performed against the Belfast side. “There was certainly some rustiness but that’s only to be expected at this stage of the season,” commented the Kiwi after the game. “But we were increasingly dominant as the game progressed and the new faces slotted well into the side.” Those “new faces” included four of last season’s successful U-19 side. Half-backs Aaron Kennedy and Macauley Little certainly looked the part with the latter producing slick distribution and effective kicking to keep his side on the front foot. Prop Lee Geddis and hooker Tim Savage didn’t look out of place when they came on for 30 minutes of the action. Scrum-half Scott Nelson, who was an Ulster Junior regular over the past couple of seasons, impressed on his first senior outing. But there’s no doubt the most noteworthy debut was made by flanker Nico Vorster. The close-season signing from Boyne seemed full of running, put in a shed-load of tackles and picked up two tries for his efforts. Bann’s other scores came from Dale Carson, Adam Ervine, Kennedy, Ryan Patterson, Chris Allen and Andrew Kirkwood. There’s certainly work to be done, especially on the set pieces, but Soper will have seen enough to reassure him of the potential in the squad to produce a successful season. Ballynahinch on Saturday will no doubt provide a much different challenge but Soper will be keen to make a winning start on the new Rifle Park turf.
A number of youth players have been selected for Ulster squads at various age groups. Andrew Jackson and Adam Cromwell were recently called up to the U18 squad; Matthew Blain, Alex Walker and Alistair McDowell for the U17s as well as Jack Myles, Aaron Duggan, Cormac Murray, Matthew Neil and Jack Dolaghan for the U16s.
BRFC Junior Club hope to commission an advertisement hoarding to be placed on the "Pitch for All" which is due to open in August 2014.
It is intended to offer the opportunity for mini and youth players, and parents to have their names printed on this hoarding in recognition of their support for this project.
This is being offered at a cost of £20 per name, and is a junior club fund-raising initiative to help secure additional finance which will be utilised for resurfacing of the car parking area adjacent to the pitch at the entrance to the club grounds. Please support this initiative as we are in sight of the finishing line regarding this project.