UUC 8 BANN SECONDS 14
Bann Seconds maintained their recent winning sequence, picking up their fourth successive Conference League success at the University of Ulster (Coleraine).
Jamie Ewing’s run into the threequarters from the blindside wing created the extra man, with Ben Thompson drawing the last defender before giving a well-timed pass to put Josh Agnew in for the opening try, which Macauley Little converted.
UUC’s response was immediate. The Bann players observed the re-start kick without moving to collect it, thinking it wouldn’t travel past the 10 metre line. An onrushing student caught the ball unchallenged, brushed aside two weak tackles and gave his winger a clear run to the try line.
Ewing restored the five point lead when he intercepted an opposition pass and sprinted clear from 65 metres out, with Little’s conversion taking his side 5-14 ahead.
The students never looked like retrieving the situation despite putting intense pressure on Bann’s lines, although they did manage to register the only points, from a penalty kick, in a second half when Bann showed their defensive capability. Bann’s best scoring opportunity in that period fell to prop Ross Haughey after fine work by Thompson, but the final pass didn’t go to hand.
Player-Coach Jeff Dodds said that in the circumstances he was pleased to get the win. “Traffic hold-ups at Ballymena meant that our-pre-match preparations were far from ideal,” he said. “We got the scores we needed, although it was disappointing to concede that very soft try.
“I thought both our props, Ross (Haughey) and James (McCrum), played very well, with James in particular putting in some big tackles and Ross coming to the rescue when a second UUC try looked inevitable. Robin Hewitt again did well out of touch, stealing a number of balls on opposition throws.
“We lost Robin (Thompson) before half-time and that resulted in some loss of control that we’d had in the centre. UUC ran at us relentlessly in the second half and our defence did really well to hold them out.”
Dodds said that he was quietly confident about Saturday’s Junior Cup quarter-final at Ballymoney. “It’s good to have put those five wins together. Maybe we should have won by more at Coleraine but we don’t really fear anybody in our league and the lads are all looking forward to the game.”