RANDALSTOWN U-18s 19 BANN U-18s 29
Bann travelled to Randalstown on Saturday where conditions were very cold and wet. The home team started the brighter of the two but an early penalty was missed by the opposition out-half.
The Bann forwards started to impose themselves and strong carries by Andrew Jackson and Matthew Blain set up a good opportunity in the Randalstown half. When the home team stopped the attack by conceding a penalty, Alex Walker opted to kick for touch and put his pack 10 metres from the opposition try-line. Robin Hewitt took clean ball from the line-out, allowing Josh Cromie to feed his back-line. Out-half Walker was able to off-load to Keelan McCambridge who hit the perfect line, at pace, to cut through the opposition back-line and score under the posts. Walker added the conversion points.
Bann were now putting the home side under real pressure and threatening to score again but a series of penalties awarded against them saw them end up back on their own goal line defending several rucks. Eventually the home side were able to drive over from just a couple of metres out, with the successful conversion levelling the scores.
In the set plays of both line-out and scrum Bann were dominating their hosts. A scrum on the half-way line to Randalstown was taken against the head by hooker Jackson. This allowed Josh Cromie to break free and sprint to within five metres of the try-line where he was tackled. In the ensuing ruck Bann had the hard-working Matthew Taylor clearing out the opposition defenders and creating the space for Jackson to pick-up and drive over for Bann’s second try. Walker again added the extras but was unable to convert Jackson’s second try a short time later. Randalstown kept in touch at the break by picking up their second try.
The second half saw the weather deteriorate further as heavy snow started to fall. However, the Bann forwards were playing their best rugby of the season and taking the game to the home side. Strong carries by Ross Haughey, Alex Megaw and Jordan Falloon put Bann in great attacking positions. The backs were also playing their part and Cameron Cromie, Robin Sinton and Curtis Jackson were always a real threat going forward. All three were being ably supplied by out-half Walker.
Randalstown never gave up and when the referee awarded a penalty they broke away to level the score at 19 – 19. With only ten minutes left in the game Bann found themselves awarded a penalty which Walker coolly converted to edge his side ahead. The last minutes of the game saw Bann encamped in the opposition “22” and Conor Burns picked up a loose ball to sprint in under the posts, with Walker concluding the action with the successful conversion.