BANN THIRDS 15 GROSVENOR SECONDS 14
A youthful Banbridge 3rd XV kicked off their new season in a very competitive game against a newly promoted Grosvenor side. Even with the difficult weather conditions both sides were still determined to try to play an expansive game of rugby.
Grosvenor started off the more promising of the two sides dominating the set piece and putting the Bann pack under huge pressure at the scrum which enabled them to put the home side on the back foot. They capitalised on the ill-discipline of the Bann side who seemed to find themselves offside regularly. Grosvenor opened the scoring when a prolonged spell of pressure created space on the outside which allowed their winger to score in the corner unchallenged. The conversion was missed.
Banbridge then showed a little more discipline in their game and some excellent carrying by Jack Macauley and Robin Hewitt put took play into the opposition half. Some ill discipline from Grosvenor led to a penalty 40 metres out and Scott Jardine attempted a shot at the posts only for it to drift wide.
Grosvenor were able to turn the ball over from the re-start and despite the best efforts in defence from William Taylor and Mark Magowan Grosvenor won and converted a penalty opportunity from in front of the posts.
Soon afterwards Bann again found themselves at the wrong end of the referee’s whistle, conceding another penalty which Grosvenor converted for a 0-11 lead.
With five minutes of the half remaining Johny McCreery was introduced to the side and he had an immediate impact, shoring up the scrum and making some hard yards. A half break from Peter Irvine and off-load to Chris Berry took Bann deep into Grosvenor territory. The forwards then took over with Matty Bell and Matthew Shirlow making some good yards. Then McCreery took another short ball and was able to rumble his way over the line to open Bann’s account. Jardine was able to convert to leave the half time score 7-11 to Grosvenor.
After a few harsh words at half time about their discipline and ball security Bann showed exactly what they are capable of with a half break from Scott Thompson and some excellent drives from Gareth Briggs and Alex Megaw leaving the home side camped on the Grosvenor line. Then Ben Jamison took a short ball and was able to force his way over the line for a try which went unconverted.
Bann then conceded another penalty to allow Grosvenor to take a two point lead into the last 10 minutes of the game. With the league points on the line Bann went on one last foray into the opposition’s half where they found themselves awarded a penalty. Jardine was able to slot the difficult kick to give his side the narrowest of leads to which they clung until the final whistle.
Coach Stuart Wickie commented that he was relieved to hear the final whistle in a very competitive game played in difficult conditions. Peter Irvine was awarded man of the match after his first game in several years, putting in some ferocious tackles and causing havoc in the Grosvenor midfield all afternoon.