Match Centre - March 25, 2017 - 2:30 pm

All Ireland League 

Blackrock College RFC
Banbridge RFCBanbridge RFC 1sts XV

@ Stradbrook Road

Match Details


Banbridge returned home from a sunny Blackrock with another win to maintain their position at the top of Ulster Bank All Ireland League Division 2A.

Nenagh Ormond’s bonus point victory over Highfield saw them leapfrog the Cork side into second, but although both chasing teams have a game in hand, Bann’s lead is now five points and means they are the masters of their own destiny.

Coach Daniel Soper was pleased with his team’s endeavour, despite a difficult first half.

“There were several occasions we came pretty close to scoring before the break, but little errors cost us. But we stuck at it, and when our structure is right we look good, and that showed in our second half tries”

Both sides were guilty of squandering try scoring opportunities early on and a Blackrock penalty 20 minutes in proved to be the only score of the first half. Bann failed to clear from their own 22 after a lineout, were turned over and then infringed, giving ‘Rock a 3-0 advantage.

A twenty minute purple patch after the interval saw the visitors take control. Bann’s set scrum was dominant all game, and as Blackrock struggled to cope they conceded a multitude of penalties, two of which were converted by out-half Andrew Magrath.

Then from a scrum inside the Bann half Andrew Morrison made good ground, Robin Sinton took over and carried the ball deep into Blackrock territory. When it was recycled Michael Cromie fed his brother Peter out wide and the hooker crossed for the opening try, after some nifty footwork left the last defender on his backside. 11-3 to Bann.

Blackrock tried to respond, but were penalised for holding on in the tackle and Magrath kicked the penalty into the corner. From the lineout the Bann eight drove towards the line, and when the ball was released wide Johnny Little found Morrison,  and he fed fullback Adam Doherty who swerved past two would-be tacklers to touch down. Magrath added the conversion for Bann to lead 18-3.

Somewhat against the run of play Blackrock reduced the deficit when their blindside winger burst through on halfway and outpaced the cover defence to score.

But Bann restored their advantage straight from the restart with the Cromie brothers again heavily involved. Michael won the turnover allowing Peter space down the left to feed Adam Ervine. He carried the ball 30 metres down the wing before giving the return pass inside for Peter’s second try of the day. Again Magrath added the extra points for a 25-8 lead with ten minutes remaining.

With Bann now on the hunt for a fourth try for the bonus point, Blackrock were stung into life and scored two tries in quick succession to leave them just five points adrift and set up a tense last few minutes. The game finished on a sour note though, with Bann’s Chris Allen and a ‘Rock player both red carded after a melee.

“It was a disappointing last ten minutes” said Soper. “We wanted to go on and get the bonus point, but we didn’t control the play in the manner we can and that created pressure on us. But to come home from Blackrock with four points is a good result.”

“We have two games left and everything is in our hands now, we just need to focus on our own performances, get the wins and hopefully the bonus points.”

The coach was also full of praise for winger Simon Lloyd who returns to New Zealand this week. “ Simon has improved and made great strides in his own performance since joining us. He’s been very popular within the squad and it’s been super to have his fire and energy around the place.”




Josh Cromie← Adam Ervine- Club Capt.
Richard Graham← Stephen Irvine
Fraser Mulholland← Peter Cromie
Colin Bickerstaff← Christopher Allen
James McCrum← Stuart Cromie