OMAGH U-14s 21 BANN U-14s 12
On a warm late autumnal morning tailor made for rugby, Banbridge Under-14s travelled to Omagh in hope rather than expectation, after a disappointing start to the 2015/16 campaign.
Winning the toss and electing to receive the kick off, Bann immediately showed their attacking intent by moving the ball wide to Will Cromie who was bundled into touch just short of the home line. Bann took the lead after some good passing between forwards and backs saw Lewis Kemp outpace the home defence to score. Liam McClory was very unlucky with the resultant conversion. Bann’s tackling in midfield was very strong throughout the half and half backs Adam McCullough and McClory kept the team going forward.
The forwards continued to show well with Declan Brady, Eddie Dawson, James Hunter and Adam Cairns particularly prominent in the loose. Only the referee’s quixotic interpretation of a forward pass prevented first McClory and then Cromie from adding further scores. The home team took the lead right on the stroke of half time, after quick passing from a series of rucks saw their winger skip past the home defence and score. This was duly converted.
The second half followed the same pattern with Bann pressing to score and the home team defending well. Dean McKnight, Jack Sherrard, Benjy Thompson and William Dodds showed up well in the forwards with Dean Hayes, Adam Benson, Dean Grier and sub Russell McCready making contributions in the backs. The lack of subs on the Bann side eventually told with Omagh scoring two well worked tries against a tiring defence both of which were converted. Lewis Kemp picked up his second try of the match after a good passing move involving Benson, Hayes and McClory send him clear. McClory added the extras off the tee.
While this was another defeat for the U14s, there were very notable signs of improvement from the previous fixture, in the tight with good scrummaging and line out play, the continuity of play between backs and forwards and quality and intensity of tackling. More work is needed from the squad in and around the breakdown area, being clinical in taking try scoring opportunities and “game awareness” at certain times during a match. However, the hard work the squad has put in over the last couple of weeks is beginning to pay dividends.
Particular mention should go to Karl Heslip, who despite having a broken finger travelled with the squad to Omagh.