ACADEMY SECONDS 31 BANN FOURTHS 0
Bann Fourths travelled to Mallusk on Saturday to take on a vastly different opposition from the team they encountered in the previous Saturday’s drawn first round Forster Cup game. In what has become the norm for visits to this venue the replay was played in extremely cold, wet and wintry conditions with hail stones adding to the mix during the match.
The visitors started well and controlled possession with strong pick and drives around the edges of rucks. Unfortunately a spilled ball allowed one of the Academy players to pick up and score.
Despite this set-back Bann again challenged from the re-start causing the hosts a few problems. The front row which included Colin Bickerstaff, Ryan Ringland, Jordan Poots, Max McGookin and Barney McKevitt caused the hosts lots of issues at scrum time, and Academy didn’t get everything their own way in this area. Similarly in the lineouts Nathan Martin was a constant thorn in the home team’s side, disrupting many planned ploys.
The back line tackled like demons and chased kicks relentlessly. Despite the team’s herculean efforts there was little they could do to prevent the far superior opposition from scoring. With conditions deteriorating the final whistle was blown early, with Academy claiming that slot in the second round of the Cup. .
Coach Andy Fulton admitted that his team was up against a better side. “Hopefully the players will use the experience to learn and move on,” he said after the game. “It was fantastic to have both Coly (Bickerstaff) and Barney (McKevitt) in the squad today to add experienced heads to this young team. I think the players really enjoyed having them there.”
“It was great to introduce another new player into adult club rugby today, Aaron Duggan. We have introduced a lot of young and new faces this season and it will take a while to build and bed them in. The results haven’t been the best and it would be easy to be negative about the team, but these guys have a fantastic attitude and they are enjoying their rugby.
“We now go into the Forster Plate which will hopefully be a better level for the guys to challenge. We have a week off but back to league action on 23rd November at home to Bangor. I would encourage all players to train to try to improve their personal skills and work on the team’s patterns.”