This season's penultimate Friends draw will take place in the Clubhouse on Saturday after the Ulster- Leinster RaboDirect Pro 12 final. Once again prizes of £1,000 and £150 will be up for grabs. The bonus prize of £50 per draw for members present has rolled over and is now worth £300. So get along to Rifle Park on Saturday, watch Ulster win the big game and you might just walk away with a nice cheque.
The final Friends draw will be held on Friday 5th July and all Friends are invited to come along for a free B-B-Q and entertainment, so keep that date free!
The rugby club is now an Ulster Rugby Official Fan Zone Site for Saturdays Final. So come down early, grab a good seat to watch the match on the big screen, and pick up your free supporters flag to cheer Ulster on.
The clubhouse will be open from 3.30pm on Saturday for the big game, which kicks off at 4.45pm.
Beer and a Curry will be available for £5
And if Rory scores, pints will be £2 for the remainder of the match.
Ulster Rugby's Centra Junior Camps, for boys and girls aged 6-12, will once again be played at Rifle Park, offering children the opportunity to try rugby for the first time or develop their existing skills in a fun and safe environment.
The Banbridge Camp will run from the 5th - 9th August.
The Mini Rugby season at Banbridge concluded on Saturday with the annual end of season BBQ and Awards ceremony. And the players enjoyed the company of their most successful predecessor, with Rory Best who started playing mini rugby at Rifle Park, calling into to hand out the awards.
Banbridge's Under-19 side will travel to Ravenhill on Saturday hoping to cap a very successful season by completing the cup double.
With the Nutty Krust Cup already locked away in the Rifle Park clubhouse cabinet, the young Bann side will be hoping they have to make room for the Roland Barr Cup. Their opponents in that Ulster final will again be Portadown, the side they beat to lift the Nutty Krust trophy.
A bus has been organised for the U19s Cup Final against Portadown on Saturday. It is leaving the club at 2pm and leaving Ravenhill at 5pm sharp because of the Players' Awards Dinner.
The cost is £5 each (no concessions). Anyone interested must contact Tim Honeyford 07766365225 or John Ewart 07909978505. There are 49 places and they will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
Admission prices at the ground are: Adults £6.00 and Children £3.00, however any child (Under 18) arriving in a BANBRIDGE RFC shirt will be admitted free.
The 2013 Players Awards Dinner will be held in the Clubhouse on Saturday 11th May 2013.
For tickets for yourself, your partner, supporter, parent or friend you need to contact Andy Duke on 07803 018454.
Price - Adult tickets £15.00 Youth £12.00
Some news for the Under 19 Cup Final at Ravenhill on Saturday 11th May.
Banbridge v Portadown - Kick Off 3.20pm.
Banbridge have been allocated the HOME dressing room.
Admission prices are: Adults £6.00 and Children £3.00, however any child (Under 18) arriving in a BANBRIDGE RFC shirt will be admitted free.
The U19s impressive season will reach its climax with two cup finals over the next week and a half starting with the Nutty Krust tomorrow night (30th April). Competition hosts Portadown will provide the opposition in the contest which kicks off at 7.45pm at Chambers Park.
11 days later, the U19s will travel to Ravenhill to face City of Derry in the Roland Barr Cup.
Your support at both these matches would be very welcome.
The Ladies Committee held their annual general meeting and dinner at the weekend.
See the Ladies Committee page for some photos.
The rugby club's long time barman John Clarke will once again be holding his annual fundraiser this Saturday night in the clubhouse to raise funds for his team to compete in various events in the MCE British superbikes series 2013.
Banbridge recorded their tenth bonus point win in their final outing of the season, leaving them in third place in Division 2A of the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League behind promoted Terenure and Corinthians.
While Coach Daniel Soper was evidently well pleased with his squad's performance in their first season after promotion, he knew that Bann's final tally of 51 points was one more than Malone needed to win promotion twelve months ago. However with the top two teams having picked up 63 and 62 points respectively, there was no denying their right to the promotion prizes.
Bann's Under-19 side battled their way through to the semi-finals of the Nutty-Krust Floodlit Tournament with a hard-fought win over Omagh.
The Co Tyrone side took an early lead with a converted try.....
The club will play host to a Mini Rugby Festival on Saturday 13 April, for the P5 age group. This festival will be led by the Ulster Branch and sponsored by Domino's Pizza. All players should report to the clubhouse at the usual time and bring warm clothes to wear between games. The first match will start at 10:30 and the festival will finish at 13:00.
Volunteers are needed to help with car parking, set up and tuck shop. Please contact George MacCormac or any of the P5 coaches if you can assist.
There will be usual coaching sessions for the other age groups.
The Ladies Committee will be holding their annual table quiz on Friday 12th April, and this year they will be fundraising in aid of the rugby club's Pitch For All project.
The quiz is open to everyone and will start at 7.30pm. Supper will be served on the evening.
Derek Moorhead will once again be running the Belfast Marathon and this year he will also be fundraising in aid of the Pitch For All project. Derek will seeking sponsorship in the weeks coming up to the Marathon on 7th May. Your support for Derek and the club will be very welcome.
A bonus point win in their penultimate game has left Banbridge within touching distance of a third place finish in this their first season in Division 2A of the All-Ireland League. If their defence looked creaky at times, evidenced by Seapoint's three tries, Bann more than compensated in attack as they ran in five tries.
Bann's Under-19 side may have lost out by a single point in their attempt to win the Ulster League but they have given themselves every chance to compensate, with this semi-final win taking them through to a Ravenhill appearance against City of Derry in the final of the Ulster Cup.
The mini section will travel on Saturday to take part in the Armagh Festival. The bus will leave the clubhouse at 8.30am sharp, returning at 3.00pm. Players are asked to bring warm clothing eg track suits, as there will be gaps of up to an hour between games. Food will be provided by the host club.
Rifle Park will play host to three midweek fixtures this week, starting this evening with the 2nds league fixture against Ards 2 (7.30pm). The U19s face Randalstown in the cup tomorrow (Thursday) evening; and on Friday an U16 side will host Carlisle on tour from England.
Banbridge made their first ever visit to Crowley Park a winning one as they edged out Galwegians in an eight try thriller. With the teams side by side near the top of Division 2A going into the game it was always likely to prove a close affair. And at the end, with both sides having picked up the bonus point for scoring four tries, the result was settled by Ian Porter's penalty kicked near the end of the first half.
- The Mini Sections fixture away to Armagh is off, and there is no practice at home.
Having beaten Queen's Seconds by a single score the previous week, Bann Seconds knew to expect another tight match in the return league game. However that was not how it was looking as Bann took the game to Queens and scored an early try through Peter Cromie.
Mini Programme for the remainder of the season:
May 11 BBQ & Awards and pre-orders for next season kit
Bann travelled to ‘The Dub' to play this rearranged league fixture on the back of two defeats, all be it that those games were on the 2nd and 16th February. Having not played in three weeks you would have thought the 2s would have been a little rusty, but the opposite was the case.
Banbridge travelled to upper Malone to play Queens knowing that a win would secure their highest ever finish in the Ulster Senior League. Constant rain and strong wind made the opening exchanges error strewn
Banbridge Fifths entertained neighbours Ballynahinch Sixths in the quarter-final of the McCambley Cup. Bann set out their stall from the first whistle and immediately worked the ball into the ‘Hinch half and tested their defence.
With Bann Fourths stepping onto their 'lucky' pitch at Rifle Park, this grudge match was one that Team Manager John Woods wanted to win after the visitors had edged home by a point at Roughfort in November.
Four tries in each half from a well-drilled UUC outfit saw Banbridge suffer their heaviest defeat in All-Ireland rugby for several seasons. The students gave early warning of their potential when they capitalised on a poor Bann lineout to put winger Olann Dennehy in for the opening score with just three minutes played, with out-half Sean Og Murphy adding the conversion.
Banbridge lined out against a very much changed Lisburn side from their meeting in October, and with Lisburn just four points behind Bann in the league and in the relegation zone, a win for Bann was the only option.
Bann Fifths travelled to Larne in the third round of the McCambley Cup hoping to continue their progression in the competition. It was a frantic start to the match with both teams trying the difficult skills rather than just keeping possession and doing the basics.
Banbridge made the long journey to Judges Road full of optimism having won all four of their games so far in the 2nd XV league. However it was clear from the outset this wasn't going to be an easy game, as the City of Derry backs attacked at every opportunity out wide and from two such attacks penalties were conceded and Derry raced into a 6-0 lead.
Banbridge suffered their fourth All-Ireland League defeat in spite of scoring four tries at Judges Road on Saturday. In between Bann's bright opening quarter, which yielded two tries, and the final ten minutes, when they picked up another brace, City of Derry scored four of their own. And with out-half Richard McCarter slotting over three conversions and three penalties, the home side picked up maximum points for their efforts.
The club's General Committee has recently approved a new Code of Conduct which covers players, coaches, spectators, members and patrons of our clubhouse. Everyone involved in Banbridge RFC is asked to familiarise themselves with and adhere to the new Code of Conduct.
Banbridge U19s went into their final league game knowing that Larne, the only team to have beaten them this season, had already won the league. With the home pitches unplayable, the team travelled up to the Banbridge Academy pitches to play their first game in over a month
A bonus point win over Instonians gave Banbridge the mid-season boost of which they were sorely in need. This may only have been an Ulster League game and against an Instonians side going through a re-building phase. But after four successive set-backs since Christmas, two in the Ulster League and two in the All-Ireland, the result and the performance will have pleased coach Daniel Soper, especially in advance of this weekend's trip to City of Derry
Saturday saw Bann Seconds start and end their Towns' Cup campaign but it could have been very different. It was a game of very few chances and if Bann had taken one of their opportunities there could have been an upset, but alas it wasn't to be.
The big match on Saturday is undoubtedly Banbridge 2s away trip to face Ballynahinch 2s in the Towns' Cup. But for those who don't fancy travelling to endure the cold, blustery conditions of Ballymacarn Park in early February, the Wales v Ireland match will be shown in the warm surroundings of the clubhouse at Rifle Park. Kick off is 1.30pm.
Banbridge's poor post-Christmas form continued as they slumped to a fourth successive defeat and their second in the All-Ireland League after heading into the holiday break as early season pace-setters.
For the first time in this season's AIL campaign they failed to register a try, testimony to a robust Corinthians defence whose determination to withstand Bann's early second half onslaught proved crucial to the outcome.
"the heartbeat of Ulster who are looking to go one better than last season in the Heineken Cup. Intelligent, combative and consistent. Quite simply one of the most complete hookers in rugby. Only two other hookers have delivered more successful lineout throws than Best (64) this season."
Banbridge suffered the second setback in their All-Ireland League campaign when Dublin side Terenure inflicted a four-try defeat in last Saturday's game played at a gloomy Lakelands Park.
The sides had gone into the fixture with identical records, having each won six of their seven games played. That suggested that the encounter between the teams would be closely contested and the big crowd which turned out for the game, including a sizeable number of visiting supporters, obviously expected a tight tussle.
The rugby club will once again be hosting a Six Nations Sunday Lunch on 10th February ahead of Ireland's encounter with England. Lunch will cost £10, or £5 for children under 12 years of age and numbers are limited.
Letterkenny made the long journey to Banbridge looking to keep up their play-off hopes. Bann seemed to take a while to find their feet, with the tricky visiting three quarters proving to be a handful.
With three tries racked up in the opening half and a 20 point cushion to take into the second period against pointless City of Derry, Banbridge looked all set to harvest another five points from Saturday's Ulster League fixture at Rifle Park. But in a remarkable turnaround the visitors dominated the second half, running in five tries to a single Bann touchdown, with the last of those leaving the home side with a solitary bonus point for their four tries.
After a disappointing performance two weeks ago against Malone, Bann Seconds were back in 2nd XV league action against City of Derry 2s on Saturday. A bit of a reshuffle saw Adam Doherty back at outside half and veteran Jeff Dodds at half back, and it was the latter who grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck to ensure the home side came out on top.
The draws have been made for Bann's two surviving cup competitors.
Bann 2nds have been drawn away to cup favourites Ballynahinch 2nds in the Second Round of the Powerade Towns Cup. The match will be played on Saturday 2nd February.
And in the third round of the McCambley Cup, Bann 5ths have been drawn away to Larne 3rds. The match will be played on Saturday 9th February.
Following several weeks of inactivity and with a few regulars unavailable because of inter-provincial duty, Bann's Under-19s were fortunate to be able to call on the services of 1st XV squad members Peter Cromie and Adam Doherty for the visit to Enniskillen.
Following defeats to Ballymena and Randalstown, Bann Under-15 coach John Mullan asked his squad for a Christmas win and the boys duly obliged, emerging victorious after a typical derby scrap against neighbours Ballynahinch.
Banbridge had to be content with a losing bonus point from Saturday's Ulster League game played at Gibson Park.
Neither side was at full strength but it was the home side that dominated the opening quarter, opening up a 12 point gap through two tries and a conversion.
In Saturday's other matches Banbridge 2nds lost 28 - 22 at Malone in the Conference League, their first league defeat of the season.
The Under 13's lost 24 - 19 at home to Ballynahinch.
This Ulster League battle between the two teams setting the pace in Divisions 2A and 2B of the AIL ended in a bonus point win for the home side.
Rainey's Mark O'Connor slotted over early penalties either side of Michael Cromie's unconverted try for Banbridge. Lock Chris Allen then crossed for the home side, with Gregg Taylor's conversion taking his team into a 12-6 lead.
Rugbytots, a rugby based play programme for girls and boys aged from 2 to 6 years is coming to Banbridge Rugby Club. The programme will run on Fridays from 15th February 2013 with two sessions; the first at 3:30pm for ages 2-3½, and the second at 4:15pm for ages 3½ - 6yrs.
Free Taster sessions available, please contact Justin for details. 0845 313 3245 or email@example.com
Book online at www.rugbytots.co.uk Facebook: Rugbytots Ni, Twitter: Rugbytotsni
With Christmas now only days away there is still time to grab your last minute gift from our club shop.
Club scarves and beanies make an ideal stocking filler in the winter months; and with a full range of playing and leisurewear there is something for everyone. Visit our club shop online to view the full range.
The club shop will be open on Saturday 22nd December: 9.30am - 12pm and 1pm - 2.30pm.
The shop will be open after U19 training on Thursday night (see Marc Eadie) or alternatively you can phone Marc or Paul who will do their best to sort you out in time. Marc 07827 338401 or Paul 07795 607187.
Having already suffered defeat twice at the hands of league pace-setters Ballynahinch Thirds, Bann Thirds can hardly have relished the thought of travelling to Ballymacarn Park for this first round Crawford Cup game. In the end the favourites duly took their place in the next round but not before they had survived a stiff test by a spirited Bann side.
Two tries from lock Chris Allen and the boot of scrum-half Ian Porter earned Banbridge their third win from six Ulster Senior League outings this season. The sound of the studs as the teams ran onto the Stevenson Park pitch gave audible evidence of its frosty condition. That may well have had a bearing on the slackness in both defences throughout, with players slipping out of half-hearted tackles all too easily.
You wait months for a hat-trick, then two come along at once! The results of the Ballymena ground staff's efforts in the face of last week's rain and harsh frosts were remarkable with Banbridge U-13s arriving off the long coach trip to inspect an excellent playing surface.
Banbridge's replacement hooker Peter Cromie was mobbed by his team-mates when he touched down from the last passage of play in Saturday's All-Ireland League game at Rifle Park. Their delight was understandable, not just because it secured a fourth and bonus point winning try, but also because of the determination he had shown in forcing his way over the line despite the efforts of three Bective forwards.
With Matthew McDonald stepping up to the 2nd XV it was Chris Watt who took over the unfamiliar role of out-half for this match against a very strong Larne team who had only been beaten once all season.
There have been a few enquiries about the shop opening hours in the run up to Christmas.
So to ensure you get those last minute presents here are the times.
SATURDAY 22ND DECEMBER 9.30am - 12MD 1pm - 2.30pm.
See Marc after Under 19 training on Tues and Thurs or Paul at 9.00pm on Tues.
Finally, if that doesn't work phone us and we will do our best to sort you out in time. Marc 07827 338401 or Paul 07795 607187.
The draw for the 1st round of the Towns Cup has been made and Banbridge 2nds have received a bye. Bann will go directly into the 2nd round draw and will play their first game in the competition on 2nd February.
Please note that the Ulster League game scheduled for Saturday 15th December between Dungannon and Banbridge has been brought forward. The match will now be played on Thursday 13th December at Dungannon. Kick off 7.45pm.
As a result of the fixture change there will be no training on Tuesday evening.
Banbridge crashed to their first All-Ireland League defeat of the season, going down to a last-minute try at Old Crescent on Saturday. Eighteen months previously there had been a similar outcome to their promotion/relegation play-off at the same venue, when the Limerick side had secured their Division 2A status thanks to a late drop goal.
With eight Bann regulars missing through injury or other commitments this was always going to be an uphill battle against a team that had scored 80 and 50 points against Ballymena and Ballynahinch respectively.
After the long trip north Banbridge U15s were keen to get started. The starting line-up saw the influential Adam Cromwell at No 8 with Adam McMahon taking over Cromwell's flanker duties. William Wilson starting at full-back was to prove a big difference between the sides.
Having conceded 12 first half points to an impressive Cashel side, Bann came good after the interval to secure their fifth win in as many outings and retain their place at the top of Division 2A of the All-Ireland League.
Bann U-13s went into this game recalling their falling short at the Plate semi-final stage last year away to Rainey and looking to put on a better show. Unfortunately it wasn't to be as the strong Rainey side pulled out to a 19-0 lead in the first ten minutes, shattering the confidence of a Bann team that hadn't shaken off their pre-match jitters.
Again the weather played its part as the clear blue morning sky and bright sunshine glistened off the overnight frost and dew. The playing conditions may have been perfect for rugby, but it seemed from the lack of enthusiasm in the Bann camp that the lads would prefer to still be in bed at home, out of the cold.
Bann took to the pitch under strict orders to use their power through the middle and their pace out wide. In the first five minutes the pacy William Wilson made 20 metres down the narrow side. Deep in the Virginia "22" the ball was quickly recycled to Matthew Blain who crashed over for the opening score.
In an error-strewn game Bann's Under-19s were fortunate to come away from Shaw's Bridge last Saturday with the narrowest of wins after the home side missed two straightforward shots at goal in the last five minutes of the game.
A Queen's side still searching for their first win of the season still had the potential to be a banana skin for pace-setters Banbridge in Saturday's All-Ireland league game at Upper Malone. But despite a spirited first half display following which they could easily have held the lead, the students eventually succumbed to a Bann side which had just too much firepower throughout the ranks.
On Saturday Bann Fifths entertained the current table toppers in the Minor South league, Enniskillen Thirds. However it was Bann who were playing the better rugby in the opening exchanges and with the Bann pack rucking effectively they drove into the ‘Skins' "22". The referee awarded Bann a penalty which Jackson duly dispensed for a three point lead.
A hat-trick of tries in the first half from centre Andrew Morrison paved the way for a third bonus point win for Banbridge in the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League. With hooker Jonny Weir also crossing for a try before the break Bann were guaranteed at least a bonus point, but the 24-7 lead they had built up virtually assured them even at that stage of a full haul. And so it proved as they doubled their tally after the break to cement their place at the top of Division 2A.
From its inception in 1926, Banbridge RFC has never been a club to stand still. Continual improvements in the club facilities over the subsequent 86 years have allowed Banbridge to grow into the thriving community club that it is today. The grounds remained largely unchanged for much of the club\'s earlier years, with Banbridge playing matches on two sloping pitches on poorly drained ground at Rifle Park.
Bann Thirds were still on a high from their convincing win over Ballymoney last Saturday when they ran out at home against another league topping side, Coleraine Seconds. Despite having lost a few players from their team, Bann were still confident taking the field - and well they might have been.
From its inception late in 1925, Banbridge RFC has never been a club to stand still. Continual improvements in the club facilities over the subsequent 87 years have allowed Banbridge to grow into the thriving community club that it is today.
Pre-match lunches are a great opportunity to get friends or work colleagues together for a great Saturday afternoon out. An excellent two course meal in a relaxed atmosphere provides the perfect build up ahead of an All Ireland or Ulster League encounter.
The first of this season's draws will take place in the Clubhouse this Saturday night (27 th Oct) at approx 7.00pm. Prizes of £1,000 and £150 will be up for grabs, with a further £50 for a Friend present when the draw is made.
A blissful autumnal morning greeted the players as they ran on to do battle at Rifle Park. With the sun shining and the spectators in expectant mood Bann Under 13s were determined to put on a good show and banish the memories of the previous weekend when their previous 100% record had been marred by a draw at Carrick.
After an early season which was massively disrupted by injuries, Bann Thirds Manager Andy Duke was relieved to be able to field a team at something close to full strength for the visit of joint table-toppers Ballymoney Seconds.
A bigger, stronger pack allowed Bann Fifths to dominate the early exchanges in this league game with Omagh 4ths. The forwards created the space to allow the backline to move the ball wide, however when the ball needed to reach the wingers either no pass came or the pass went to ground and several good scoring opportunities were missed as a result.
This much anticipated league game at Carrick eventually turned into a one-sided affair after an evenly fought first half. The thundering runs of Lee Jackson and Adam Cromwell kept Bann in the Carrick half in the first 20 minutes. But too often the support was slow and lacking in intensity, allowing Carrick to effect turnovers.
Bann's Under-19 side finally got their league season started with an away trip to Clogher Valley on Saturday. It was a very hesitant start for the young Bann side as they kept giving away possession to the well-drilled Clogher outfit.
The game kicked off in glorious sunshine on a lush pitch with Banbridge facing the sun for the first half. There was a lot of tension in the team, last year they came a very distant second and nerves were high. The first 10 minutes were evenly contested, with several good passages of play from both sides and the referee trying to play as much advantage as possible.
With both Banbridge and visitors Old Wesley having recorded useful wins on the first weekend of All-Ireland League action, the stage was set for a tightly contested encounter on Saturday. Although Bann had the edge in the first half, they managed to score just two unconverted tries, so that when livewire Wesley winger Barry McLaughlin raced in for a try just before the break, all the home side had to show for their dominance was a 13-8 lead.
Bann U15s' preparation for the league campaign had suffered because of the cancellation of two friendlies. But they took to the field, under the captaincy of Jack Flanagan, itching to get started against a Lurgan side which had always provided stiff opposition.
Andrew Waugh, son of Coach Mark, and Sammy the Bear added their support to the Second XV who overcame Armagh 2nds in the Junior Cup at Rifle Park. The Seconds maintained their 100% record, defeating their opponents 20-8.
An exhilarating second half performance earned Banbridge an unexpected bonus point win in the opening game of their Division 2A campaign in the All-Ireland League. Having seen their team secure promotion last season, the Bann supporters would have travelled to Greystones more in hope than expectation, especially given the host team's sixth place finish in the Division in April.
Over 500 boys and girls took part in the Outlet Mini Rugby Festival at Rifle Park last Saturday. Armagh, Ballynahinch and Dundalk joined with the host club with matches played at every grade from P2-P7.
Banbridge U17s picked up the Shoefair Sports Special Achievement Award at the Banbridge District Junior Sports Awards on Thursday night in recognition of their success over the past two season. The U17s completed an unprecedented league and cup double for two successive seasons, cementing Bann's place as the most successful club at youth level, having won the CE Bowman cup a record seventh time.
Having already turned over AIL Division 1B sides Belfast Harlequins and Ballynahinch, Armagh were entitled to approach Saturday's Ulster League game in confident mood. After all, Bann had only one managed one victory and that against an Ards side nestling uncomfortably at the bottom of the table.
All Ireland League actions returns this Saturday with a trip to Greystones, who have extended an invitation to any of our members who would like to attend the prematch lunch. The 4 course meal is available for €25 a head, and includes match entry. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Stephen Cross on 07798 731421 by Thursday.
Banbridge turned on the style in Saturday's Ulster Senior League game against Ards, racking up six tries with a display of fluent, controlled rugby to which the home side had no answer.
At least that's the way the first half turned out.
Coaches Gareth Bronte and Mark Waugh could not have asked for a better start from their team than wins in all three Conference Three games. But this latest success came at a price as the team limped over the finishing line with twelve players on the pitch, thanks to two injuries and a yellow card.
When Banbridge's South African tourists arrived at Kylemore Sports Ground for the second match of their tour of the Western Cape, they were oblivious to the part they would play in what has been celebrated back in South Africa as an historic rugby match.
Any hopes Banbridge had of providing a first round Senior Cup challenge to Ballymena to rank alongside their performance in last season's final had been extinguished by half-time, with the Eaton Park side opening up an interval gap of 22 points.
When Banbridge 1st XV travelled to Vancouver in August 2000, no one thought it would be twelve years before they embarked on another Club tour. With preparations eventually in place, 28 players, 1 referee and 9 alickadoos departed from Banbridge RFC on 15th August 2012, Cape Town bound.
When Matthew Johnston raced in at the left hand corner for an unconverted try that extended Bann's lead to nine points with seven minutes remaining, a winning start to the season looked odds on for the home team...
It's Registration Day this Saturday when a new season of Mini Rugby kicks off at Rifle Park, starting at 9.30am. Boys and girls who simply want to give the game "a try" will be made more than welcome. There are grades for every primary school year from P2 up and regular matches throughout the season. So if you've been thinking of taking up the game, now's your chance.
Bann coach Daniel Soper will be waiting for a report on the club's South Africa Tour before finalising the starting line-up for his side's first Ulster League game on Saturday. The tourists returned home on Monday evening after a three-game trip to the Southern Hemisphere which saw them lose the first two narrowly before coming good in their final outing.
The fixtures for the 2nds, 3rds, 4ths and 5ths have been confirmed for the season ahead and are now available here on the website. The make up of the 3rds, 4ths and 5ths respective leagues is available here - click find out more below.
Banbridge will open their AIL Division 2A campaign with a trip to Greystones at the end of September, finishing the season at home to DLSP in April. The Ulster Senior League and Cup fixtures have already been announced and will see Banbridge open their season at home against Belfast Harlequins on 1st September. Visit the team page for all fixtures.
After months of planning and fundraising, the clubs much anticipated tour to South Africa is now only a matter of days away. Thirty players and eight club officials will depart from Banbridge RFC on Wednesday 15th August, arriving in Cape Town the following day.
Andy Gorringe and Derek Moorhead completed their 69 mile Ultra Marathon from Carlisle to Newcastle in aid of the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal in a very impressive time of 15 hours, 2 minutes and 25 seconds.
A packed clubhouse enjoyed An Evening with Rory Best in the recent fundraiser for the club's tour to South Africa. With Kenny McElroy asking the questions, Rory spoke at length on a variety of subjects about his rugby career and his life away from the game.
Banbridge RFC are delighted to host an evening with Rory Best on Thursday 28th June 2012 (please note the change of date).
Rory is currently touring New Zealand with the Irish team and it is our pleasure to have him in the club at the end of what has been a memorable season with a mix of highs and lows for the Ulster and Ireland hooker.
On 23rd June, Banbridge RFC's Honorary Secretary Derek Moorhead and past player Andy Gorringe will undertake a two day ultra marathon event starting in Carlisle and following Hadrian's Wall to Newcastle.
Banbridge RFC will be running a golf day at Banbridge Golf Club on 20th July 2012. A fourball costs £120 (£30 each) and includes a round of golf and a meal afterwards in the golf club restaurant. Dinner will be followed by the awards and presentations.
Banbridge RFC's 2nd Annual Touch Rugby Tournament will take place on Saturday 16th of June and teams of all abilities are very welcome. The rugby will be followed by a BBQ and games with a few prizes on offer!
Banbridge are delighted to announce the signing of a number of new players for the forthcoming season including Ulster scrum half Ian Porter. Jonny Graham, Gregg Taylor, Matthew Johnston and Matt Wilson have also signed to bolster the Bann squad ahead of the new season in AIL Division 2A.
On 30th June Banbridge RFC will be holding an Ulster Bank RugbyForce Weekend and are seeking volunteers to lend a helping hand to the carry out a series of improvements to the club and grounds on the day. Work starts at 11am.
Our club shop page is now live online featuring our brand new range of playing, training and leisurewear.
The new improved club shop opens at 9.00am on Saturday 1st September. Any queries e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Banbridge's Adam Doherty has been nominated for the Ulster Youth Player of the Year Award to be presented tomorrow (Thursday) night at the annual Ulster Rugby Awards ceremony taking place at the Culloden.
The Mini and Youth Sections will hold their End of Season Awards and BBQ this Saturday (12th). Mini awards will be from 9.30am to 12.30pm, with the Youth section following after from 12.30 onwards. And we will be delighted to welcome Ulster's Craig Gilroy and Paddy Jackson to present the awards.
The annual penalty kick competition will follow the Youth awards ceremony.
Mini club orders for the new kit will be taken prior to the Presentation and BBQ and there will be an opportunity to try garments for size if parents wish.
Two injury-time drop goals saw Banbridge U-17s edge home against Malone and complete an Ulster League and Cup double for the second successive year, bringing the CE Bowman Cup back to Rifle Park for a record seventh time.
This was not a classic - finals rarely are - but it held the attention of the large body of supporters from both clubs throughout until, eight minutes into injury time and to the evident delight and relief of the Rifle Park fans, the referee blew the final whistle.
Club strength training is available on a Saturday morning at 11am for £5 with Aaron Donaghy at his gym on the Scarva Road. The session will give you opportunity to get some education on how and what to do in gym in your own training. It is open to all club members but requires a minimum of ten players for it to run. If you interested can you let Daniel Soper know on 07790537874 by Wednesday of this week.
Having secured the Ulster League title earlier in the season, Bann's Under-17 side travel to Ravenhill on Saturday hoping to complete the double by lifting the Ulster (CE Bowman) Cup for what would be a record seventh time.
A very successful season for Banbridge Rugby Club was rounded off last Friday night with the Club Awards Dinner, when long-serving forward Colin Bickerstaff picked up the top trophy.
With the Firsts having made the Ulster Senior Cup final for the first time in their history, followed by their first promotion in 14 seasons, the Firsts Player of the Year Trophy was always going to be hotly contested. For his sheer consistency plus an ability to perform well in any of the three forward rows Bickerstaff was a worthy and very popular winner.
If you are lucky enough to be heading to the Aviva Stadium this Saturday for Ulster's Heineken Cup semi final, then why not pop into Simply Deanes at The OUTLET on the way and fuel up with a special rugby Breakfast Brunch.
A second family bus has been arranged for the trip to Dublin for the Ulster v Edinburgh Semi Final on 28th April. 12 places remain on this bus. Anyone wishing to travel on this bus should contact Paul Wright on 07766 995829 to reserve a place.
Our U15s and U19s are both playing in crucial knock out competitions this week. The U19s face Ballynahinch in the semifinal of the Nutty Krust Cup at Portadown on Wednesday night (ko 7.45pm). While on Saturday the U15s travel to Barban Hill to face Dromore in the U15 Bowl Final (ko 10am). On Friday night, Banbridge will compete in Ulster Club Sevens at Deramore Park (matches start 6.30pm). All the teams would welcome your support.
Banbridge are delighted to announce an exciting new partnership with kit suppliers Onside Sportswear in what will represent a significant development in playing and supporter wear for the club. The new partnership will provide a brand new range of specially customised Banbridge RFC wear starting with a new playing kit for our mini rugby and 1st XV teams.
The youth rugby season is reaching a climax and Banbridge U17s are still battling for silverware on two fronts. With the Ulster League title already secured Bann will face Malone at Ravenhill in the CE Bowman Cup Final in an attempt to secure a league and cup double for the second season running. Before that their focus will be on their All Ireland Semi Final against Navan this weekend.
Bann coach Daniel Soper was elated when the promotion was finally confirmed. "The boys have worked hard throughout the season," he said amid the on-pitch celebrations. "Ok the last three games didn't work out as we'd planned, but even in defeat we kept on picking up bonus points and those proved crucial in the end.
"There are a lot of young guys in the squad and they'll continue to improve so we have no worries about being competitive in Division 2A. That defeat in last season's promotion play-off hurt a lot, but the guys responded in the right way, working hard to improve their skill and fitness levels and they fully deserve this promotion."
Despite this third successive defeat Banbridge won promotion to Division 2A of the Ulster Bank League on the back of results elsewhere. And with supreme irony their conquerors on Saturday were condemned to relegation to the junior ranks as a result of Ards' win at Navan.
Banbridge go into Saturday's final game of their All-Ireland League Division 2B campaign knowing that a win over Wanderers will earn them promotion for the first time since they joined the ranks of senior rugby 14 seasons ago.
On paper it looks like a banker - second-placed Bann at home against the side propping up the 16-team league. But after a blistering run of five bonus point wins Bann have faltered in their last two outings.
Banbridge Rugby Club will host a charity quiz night in aid of the Hope Foundation on Friday 13th April featuring an exclusive raffle and auction of signed Ulster and Ireland prints.
Conleth McCambridge set off for India at the end of February to volunteer for the Hope Foundation providing media training and bringing rugby to the street kids of Calcutta.
Click through for details and to see some of the signed photos on offer.
Bann's U-17 side took another step towards retaining the CE Bowman Ulster Cup by inflicting an eight-try defeat on Clogher Valley. The home team simply had too much power and pace in their ranks for the battling Tyrone side and they now await the outcome of the Malone-Randalstown semi-final
A Jake Chambers-inspired Banbridge made their way into the Ulster Bowl final after defeating a gritty Monaghan side. Bann had all the territory in the first half but it was Monaghan who scored first with a breakaway try from their centre after some poor handling from the Bann boys.
Saturday's youth semis this weekend are as follows
U-17 Cup - Banbridge v Clogher Valley ko 10.30am
U-15 Bowl - Banbridge v Monaghan ko 11am
U-13 Plate - Rainey v Banbridge ko 11am (venue changed under Youth Regulations to balance out Clubs' travelling)
For the second successive week Banbridge failed to register the win that would have sealed promotion to Division 2A of the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League.
It was another frustrating day for Bann coach Daniel Soper. "The refereeing of the set scrum made it difficult for us," he reflected. "But that was only one of a number of factors that saw us lose the game. Our ball retention was poor and we've work to do at our rucking.
In recent games Bann have suffered due to slow starts, with their heads still in the shed, whilst the opposition have started well, and as the big Enniskillen team headed up to the pitch it was imperative that Bann hit the field running in this key quarter-final game.
Bann's Under-17 side had to work hard for this win in the quarter-final of the Ulster Cup. Lurgan played well to their strengths, namely a big solid pack and tactically astute out-half, but ultimately the greater all-round ability of the home side told.
Banbridge's youth teams have all been awarded home fixtures in the quarter-finals of their respective cup competitions. The U17's topped their round robin group to progress into the Cup quarter-finals, while the U15s and U13s have been entered into the Bowl and Plate respectively.
And so to the final game in the first series of cup round robin matches. Banbridge had to win to stand any chance of staying in the cup, and if Virginia were to win, Bann would be moved to the plate competition.
When Banbridge sailed into a 17-3 lead after just 15 minutes of play, the home supporters must have been looking forward to a bonus point win and, depending on results elsewhere, a night of celebrating promotion.
After leaking four tries to Ards the previous week Bann were under strict instructions to go out and enjoy themselves under the sunshine at Rifle Park. Portadown travelled with a big reputation after putting 35 points on Ards.
The Ladies Committee will hold their Annual Charity Table Quiz on Friday 23rd March at the rugby club. This year's nominated charity is 'Love for Life'.
Banbridge have made significant assaults on various competitions during the season so far. But one side has been quietly going about its business, recording great wins against strong opponents, and are now one win away from a cup final.
Stephen Jackson's Fourths have recorded wins against Grosvenor 2nds and Ballymoneys 3rds in the first and second rounds of the tournament and this Saturday will face Dungannon 4th in the Forster Cup Semi-final
Banbridge played their second game in the cup away at Lurgan Tigers ground. On arrival the place was buzzing, a family fun day was in full swing and several of the team saw a bouncy castle from the coach as we arrived and forgot we were there to play rugby! Leader of the pack to go bouncing was Charlie Wright, who convinced Jamie Mullan that it would be "wicked".
A rugby career that saw its earliest steps taken on the uneven long grass of the Old Rifle Park pitches back in the late 1980s will pass another massive milestone when Rory Best leads Ireland out on St Patrick's Day at Twickenham.
Bann Fifths played host to Armagh and the side included Kris Coleman and Rab Moorhead who have been unavailable for most of the season for one reason or another. Each made a significant contribution to the game.
A Clark McAllister penalty two minutes from full time gave Banbridge their fourth win this season in the Ulster Senior League, as well as registering Bann's first ever win against Belfast Harlequins at Senior level.
Banbridge U17s will face Portadown in the final of the Ulster U17 Ulster League Playoffs this Saturday at Lisburn RFC. The match kicks off at 12 noon and all support is welcome, so please come and cheer on a deserving team.
Banbridge's Under-17 side will represent Ulster in the All-Ireland semi-finals after their comprehensive win over Portadown in Saturday's Ulster League play-off final. Having topped Section One of the provincial league, the Rifle Park lads had to battle hard to edge home 10-7 against Virginia in the quarter-finals before a 33-0 win over Instonians set up the final at Lisburn against their local rivals.
Bann U17's played Virginia on Saturday, in the first round of the cup and ran out 45 points to nil winners, in their best team performance of the season so far. The result was tainted by an injury to Captain Adam Kelly, who dislocated his elbow at the start of the second half. Kelly has been inspirational in his leadership this season and will be sorely missed in this Saturday's league play off final.
Banbridge U-13s had a sobering start to their Cup campaign coming up against a strong, well-balanced Virginia side. Played in firm-underfoot conditions, the game allowed for plenty of running and passing and both sides competed well in the first half.
Bann took another big step towards securing promotion with a hard-fought bonus point victory in Clifden on Saturday. And with a last minute try giving Cashel victory against third placed Barnhall, the Rifle Park side are now nine points clear of the chasing pack, with three matches remaining.
Banbridge's Ulster League form continued in stark contrast to their showing in the All-Ireland League as they shipped seven tries to a Dungannon side that looks set to clinch the provincial title. The home side had all the early pressure and Simon McKinstry's 5th minute try, converted by Brendan Ward, was no more than they deserved.
The U17s League Quarter Final Playoff match against Virginia, postponed last weekend due to unplayable pitches has been rearranged for this Saturday, kicking off at 11am at Rifle Park. All support is very welcome.
Banbridge U17s and U15s will both take part in League Quarter Final Play-off matches this weekend . The U17s won their section to set up a home tie against Virginia, while the u15s were section runners up and will travel to face the same opposition.
All support home or away will be very welcome.
A last minute Banbridge try last weekend against Malone at Rifle Park set up this Saturday's return fixture as the Section 1 decider in the U17 league competition. The winner of the Gibson Park encounter would secure themselves a home fixture in the quarter final, and it was Banbridge who ultimately prevailed recording a 5-17 win.
With League play-off status already assured Bann U-15s travelled to Gibson Park with no less than 10 regulars missing for a variety of reasons. After some frantic Saturday morning calls 15 players were able to take the field.
Banbridge U-13s travelled to Malone with only 12 players due to a string of injuries and cry-offs. The eager Malone squad were more than willing to provide players to Bann to facilitate a full 15-a-side contest, which gave a clear indication of the good-natured competition that lay ahead.
Banbridge Seconds out-scored their Rainey counterparts four tries to one to take their place rightfully in the quarter-final of the Towns' Cup. But they again laboured at times to kill off the opposition, although the encouraging thing is that they do produce the goods when they need to.
Banbridge defied the ground conditions to pick up an unlikely bonus point win at Nenagh, a result which for the first time this season hoisted them into a promotion place in Division 2B of the All-Ireland League.
On the 26th February, Conleth McCambridge will embark upon a four month mission to India with the Hope Foundation where he will work with children in the slums of Calcutta to teach them video and photography skills as well as pass on some of his rugby knowledge.
A late rally from Ballymoney 3rds saw off a valiant Bann Fourths who struggled to hold on to a ten try lead having been reduced to 14 men through injury. In the end 'Money outscored the home side three tries to two for the win.
International ticket update: the Scotland match is sold out but some tickets are still available for the Italy match. Anyone interested in tickets for this match should contact John Ewart on 07909 978505 for more detail.
John McIlwaine was the happiest man at Rifle Park on Saturday evening after his Fifths side had come home from Armagh with the league points. The hard working manager was delighted with the way his side had overcome a raft of late changes in personnel to pick up just their second win of the season.
The U13 coaches have taken some time to put together a great newsletter for the players and their parents. Click the link below for fixture information; a special tailored fitness plan; coach CVs; to find out what is a 'fartlek'; and lots more.
The next Friends of BRFC draw is planned for the following date.April 14 - after Wanderers game
After the excitement of Banbridge's Senior Cup final game against Ballymena nearly three weeks earlier, this Ulster League match at Shaw's Bridge was always going to be a low-key affair. Both teams fielded well short of full strength but it was Banbridge who showed up the better in the early stages, with their attacks demonstrating the greater cohesion and bite.
Club Committee members are selling tickets for the IRFU's Your Club Your Country Prize Draw in the coming week. Don't miss out on your opportunity to win one of the great prizes on offer. Click through for a full list of prizes.
The U-13s played Ballynahinch away last Wednesday night in difficult stormy conditions. Captain Charlie Jones opted to play with the strong wind in the first half and Bann started well with an early try.
A Banbridge Select XV will once again host a Banbridge Academy Old Boys XV in the traditional Boxing Day fixture at Rifle Park. The match kicks off at 4pm and will be followed by the Ulster v Leinster match live on TV in the clubhouse.
If you would like to play for the club side please contact James Mathers on 07967 823372.
Congratulations to our Soccerbuster winners Neil Allen and Marc Eadie. It is planned to run another one early in the New Year, anyone interested in trying their luck again can register their interest with their seller or contact Brian Cromie on email@example.com.
Banbridge RFC recognised the achievement of four players, John Nelson, Mark Waugh, Albert Finney, and Jeff Dodds, who have all reached the impressive milestone of 100 All Ireland League caps. The players were all awarded with special club blazers at the Players' Festive Feast.
Banbridge left Ravenhill with their heads high following their defeat in last Wednesday's First Trust Senior Cup final. Feelings of intense pride were mixed with bitter disappointment as they reflected on a performance that will have impressed the considerable crowd who came along to see if the underdogs were capable of causing an upset.
Bann kicked off and right from the start put Lurgan under pressure, turned over a Lurgan lineout and drove to within 5 metres of the Lurgan line where Richie Graham was on hand to dive over for the first score.
There are a few spaces left on the second supporters bus heading to Ravenhill for Wednesday nights First Trust Senior Cup Final. Buses leave at 6.15pm, returning for 10.15pm. The cost is £3 for adults and £2 for everyone under-18 (£1 if you wear a club jersey). (Entrance to Ravenhill is not included)
Anyone wishing to travel on the bus should contact David Dodds no later than Monday evening. Click through for contact details.
There are about 15 tickets left for the Players Festive Feast so if you haven't got yours yet please contact your team captain as soon as possible.
Christmas Jumpers should be considered mandatory attire for the evening.
Bann Seconds travelled to play Donegal in the Conference League, and they took just three minutes to shake off the effects of the long bus journey by registering a try via the impressive powerhouse centre James Andrews.
Rainey's unbeaten record in Division 2B of the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League was terminated decisively on their own patch last Saturday by a Banbridge team with their thoughts still on a promotion spot.
It's not often that Pat Best misses a rugby match, even more so when Banbridge will be making their first ever appearance in the First Trust Ulster Senior Cup Final. But on this occasion she can be forgiven as she has been summoned by a much higher authority.
The euphoria generated by Bann's Senior Cup semi-final win over Instonians the previous weekend was blown away in Drogheda on Saturday, not by the strong wind that blew down the Shamrock Lodge pitch, but by a mix of their own ineptitude and the efforts of a hard-working Boyne side showing all the energy, enthusiasm and spirit to be expected from a side newly-promoted to the senior ranks.
Bann U15s trained hard in the bad weather to prepare themselves for the visit of the very strong Carrick side. Prior to this meeting the two teams had been unbeaten in the league but Carrick’s winning margins had been much higher than Bann’s.
Ballymoney started the brighter of the two teams in this Junior League game, and indeed had the better of the early confrontations up front. Their scrum was putting pressure on the Bann front five and from one such scrum Bann were penalised for early engagement, allowing the home side to take a three point lead.
Banbridge ruthlessly swept aside the challenge of Instonians to claim a place in the final of the First Trust Senior Cup for the first time in their history.
Last season the Belfast side had recorded a 39-8 win over Bann en-route to winning promotion out of the bottom tier of the All-Ireland League. But on Saturday the team they had left behind in the AIL competition hit them for six in the provincial cup, clocking up three tries in each half to rightly claim their place opposite Ballymena in the Ravenhill showpiece final.
Bann Seconds entertained City of Derry Seconds in a Conference League game wishing to shake off their disappointing performance in exiting the Junior Cup the previous week, and also to avenge a defeat by the same opponents on the first day of the season.
Having seen off the challenge of Dromore and Armagh Seconds in the early rounds of the Junior Cup, and buoyed by an unbeaten record since early September, Bann Seconds travelled to take on Coleraine in the cup quarter-final in optimistic mood. However they never recovered from a poor start, eventually shipping eight tries to a home side that took all the chances that came their way.
Ballynahinch travelled to Rifle Park boasting the best record of all twelve Ulster teams competing in the All-Ireland League. They duly recorded a win in this Ulster League game, and probably deserved to, but they were pressed right to the end by the improving home side.
Bann Seconds travelled to Newforge to play PSNI in the Conference League hoping to get some momentum back after the previous week's disappointing 10-10 draw at Malone. They duly eased to a 29-12 victory courtesy of a gritty performance from a much changed team.
Bann Seconds travelled to Gibson Park to play Malone Seconds in the Conference League wishing to keep their recent good form going. Although they extended their unbeaten run, it was courtesy of a disappointing 10-10 draw.
Banbridge have been drawn at home to Instonians for the semi-final of this year's Senior Cup, with the fixture to be played on 19th November. The draw took place yesterday at Ravenhill and Michael Cromie was in attendance for Banbridge; follow the link to watch his reaction after the draw (courtesy of InTouch Rugby).
Adam Doherty has been selected in the Ireland U18 National Talent Camp which will meet for the first time this weekend at Clongowes. A squad of 36 has been selected, with Doherty being just one of three Ulster players included.
Fielding for the first time this season because of inter-provincial commitments, the U-19s proved too strong for the previously unbeaten Instonians as they out-scored the visitors three tries to one for a 20-11 victory.
Bann Seconds' reward for dispatching Dromore in the first round of the Junior Cup was a home tie against Armagh Seconds, in a game eagerly anticipated to rectify a recent poor League defeat against the same opponents.
Our Friends of BRFC draw continues for another season with the first draw happening in only a matter of weeks. If you haven't already signed up there is still an opportunity to do so. Forms are available in the clubhouse or alternatively you can speak with a club committee member.
For those that missed it here is the news item from CNN featuring Banbridge RFC, including interviews with Simon Best, Daniel Soper and Simon McKinstry.
This Saturday sees Armagh return to Rifle Park for the second time in less than a month - with the respective 1st XVs meeting in the AIL; while the club's respective 2nd XVs meet on the adjoining pitch in the second round of the Junior Cup. It is a busy week in Banbridge with home fixtures for the 5ths and U19s facing Hinch's Evergreens and Instonians respectively.
Saturday 17th December - Players' Festive Feast
Friday 9th March 2012 7.30pm for 8.00pm - Club Formal in the Belmont Hotel
More details to follow.
Newly promoted Cashel followed up their opening day success at Suttonians by turning over Banbridge in their first All-Ireland home game.
Bann had just missed out on promotion last season, but this was a pale shadow of the side that had run Old Crescent so close in the end-of-season promotion play-off.
Parents please note that the mini section will travel to Ballynahinch on Saturday morning (8th) and will not be at home as previously indicated. Players are to meet at 9.30am at Rifle Park and should be collected at 12.15pm.
Ulster U18s go into their final interprovincial match in confident mood following on from victory last week against a strong Connacht side.
And with five players, include four starters in the 22-man squad, Banbridge remain well represented.
Banbridge's Garry Best has finished the IRFU Charitable Trust 1000km cycle in NZ managing to complete every leg. Garry was one of only a few who manged to compete the entire journey.
Well done Garry!
Bann Thirds travelled to Portadown last Friday night to take on their second string in a league encounter under floodlights. It was a very wet night and the pitch was particularly slippy after a day's heavy rain.
Banbridge put their indifferent Ulster League form behind them to get their Ulster Bank League campaign off to a winning start.
But it was a far from vintage performance by the home side with a late interception try giving Navan a sniff of victory in the dying minutes. However Bann held firm to get the win warranted by a steamrolling forward display that had the Navan eight in increasing bother as the game progressed.
Qualifying League 1 side and near neighbours Dromore were the visitors to Rifle Park to take on the Banbridge second string in the first round of the Junior Cup. The underfoot conditions reflected the continual rain which had fallen for the previous 24 hours, but both teams provided a reasonable, if at times dour, standard of rugby.
A depleted Bann U15s travelled to Ballynahinch missing no fewer than seven regulars due to injury and other commitments. They suffered a heavy defeat due to the superior skills and size of some of the Hinch players. With the guys back from injury this result can be turned around.
Banbridge's perrenial tourists, The Blue Sox, have returned from another enjoyable trip in Europe; this time enjoying the sunny weather of the Adriatic Coast in Italy where they faced RC Cesena and RC Forli.
For photos and a full tour report click here.
The Blue Sox 2012 Tour will be heading to Leeds - the tour is open to all club members over 18 years; for details see here.
Saturday 1st October promises to be a big day at Banbridge RFC, with Navan coming to Rifle Park for the opening fixture of the AIL, allied with a Junior Cup fixture for Bann 2nds against Dromore; and the 4ths facing Rainey OB also at home.
The Thirds travel to Portadown on Friday night for a 7.30 kick off.
All Ireland League rugby returns to Rifle Park for another season with Banbridge welcoming Navan to Rifle Park this Saturday.
Banbridge are now competing in Division 2B of the Ulster Bank sponsored league following a reorganisation at the end of last season. And following the disappointment at Old Crescent on the last day of the season, when Bann lost out narrowly on promotion, the players and coaching staff are keen to get back into action.
Bann's mini rugby teams had their first taste of competitive action on Saturday when the club hosted a Festival of Mini Rugby, sponsored by The Outlet.
Armagh, Holywood and Lisburn were the welcome visitors and a total of over 450 players aged 6-11 took part in a series of games over nearly three hours.
Newly-promoted Armagh edged home in this Ulster League game, the last for both teams before the start of the All-Ireland League this Saturday. The match had an added interest, coming as it did just three weeks before the sides meet again at Rifle Park in the AIL, the result of which will be of greater importance to both clubs.
On Saturday Bann Seconds hosted Armagh in the 2nd XV League, and the recent run of results seemed to give the players the idea that they could just turn up and a result would follow. The effect of this was that they allowed Armagh to dominate nearly all facets of play, and by the time the home team tried to shrug off their lethargic approach, Armagh were out of sight on the scoreboard.
Congratulations to Banbridge youth players Peter Cromie, Jonathan McCreery, Kacper Kruzycki, Matthew McDonald and Adam Doherty who have been selected to play for Ulster U18 (Youth) against Munster in Thomond Park on Saturday 24th September. (Kick off 1.00pm).
Banbridge and Ards went into this Ulster League game both looking for their first win of the season. But it was clear from the opening exchanges why the North Down side had already shipped heavy defeats as Bann began to run up the points at the rate of close to one a minute.
Bann's second string travelled to Magherafelt on Saturday, hoping to use last week's home win to get back on track in the 2nd XV League. This they duly achieved by a comfortable margin after an early second half blitz had steamrollered the Rainey resistance.
Anyone interested in attending any of this season\'s prematch receptions should contact either John Ewart (07909 978505) or Stephen Cross (07798731421) to secure a place.
The receptions for the AIL matches against Armagh (15th October) and Ards (10th December) are already fully booked, however names are being added to a reserve list should places become available.
Five Banbridge players featured for Ulster Youth on Saturday in their defeat to an Exiles U18 side.
Ulster, captained by Bann's Adam Doherty, lost 7-45 in the fixture played at Campbell College. Bann's Peter Cromie scored the province's only try, with Doherty adding the conversion.
Johnny McCreery, Matthew McDonald and Kasper Kruzycki were also in the squad.
Bann went down to the second defeat of their Ulster League campaign after running out of steam in the final quarter hour of their home game against Queen's.
Coach Daniel Soper was again forced to select from a squad severely hit by injury and unavailability, but the student ranks were similarly depleted. So it was to the credit of both sides that they put on an entertaining first half, the spectators being treated to a total of six tries with Bann finishing the half on the right side of a 25-22 scoreline.
Bann Thirds travelled to Belfast to take on Cooke Seconds in their first league game since earning promotion. With a very different side than the one that did the league and cup double last season, coach Andy Duke was nervous going into the game.
A new season of mini rugby kicks off this Saturday, 3rd September, at Rifle Park, with all boys and girls of Primary School age (P2-P7) invited to register at 9.30am.
A change back to the date of eligibility of 1st July means that boys and girls will play in school years.
On an afternoon at Judges Road when the rain was never far away, a greasy ball combined with early season player rustiness to make this an error-strewn and at times fractious start to the provincial senior league programme.
Banbridge will face Cooke on Thursday 18th followed by Ulster U20s on Tuesday 23rd August in pre-season friendlies ahead of the league opener away to City of Derry. Kick off for both friendlies is at 7.30pm at Rifle Park.
There are still spaces available for the tour to South Africa in the summer of 2012. If anyone is interested and would like to find out more contact club captain Simon McKinstry on 07736 773113 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Banbridge's Andy Morrison scored twice in Ulster U20's comprehensive win over Midlands on Friday. Full report available here.
Banbridge RFC will host a Night at the Races on Saturday 13th August to raise funds for the upcoming tour to South Africa and the Ulster Cancer Foundation. All horses have now been sold.
Ireland will face France in their second World Cup Warm up match on the evening and rugby will be shown in its entirety. It is planned to begin the horse races at half time with the remaining races after the rugby is finished.
The rugby kicks off at 7.45pm
Pints of Carling £2 all night; Alcopops £2 each during the rugby.
It is hoped to run a supporters bus to City of Derry on 27th August for the first Senior League game of the season. Anyone interested should contact John Ewart on 07909 978505 by 20th August to register their interest.
Over 500 people attended Banbridge RFC's Question of Sport and enjoyed a great evening of entertainment. Follow the link below for photos from the night.
Fancy yourself as a bit of a pool player? Why not try your luck in the BRFC Pool Competition on Thursday nights during the season. Entry is £10 with £150 cash prize for the winner. Contact Michael Cromie on 07595 874 270 for details and to register your interest.
Demand for tickets has been huge, but if you haven't got yours yet you will be able to buy at the door on the night. Doors open and food served from 7pm.
Mini Rugby registration takes place on Saturday 3rd September at 9.30am.
The rugby club will be running a scrap metal fundraising collection in late August (date and venue to be advised). Members are asked to gather up and hold onto their scrap metal and bring it along that weekend to help raise much needed funds for the running of the club. Details will follow in the coming weeks.
The following will be accepted - scrap cars, old machinery, scrap steel, copper, brass, stainless steel, aluminium, scaffolding, scrap electric cables, lead, lead acid batteries, electric motors, old radiators, old steel barrels and old steel gates etc.
PLEASE DO NOT BRING : FRIDGES, TELEVISIONS, MICROWAVES, TIMBER, TYRES etc,
The rugby club is holding a touch rugby tournament this Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 2pm. Ten teams have entered so far, however if you fancy a game and aren't in a team yet, bring your mouldies or trainers with you and it should be possible to fit you in somewhere. Players are asked to be at the club from 1.30pm. The tournament will be followed by the Friends Gala BBQ, Draw and Disco.
On 18th June, Banbridge RFC will once again host Co Down Pipe Band Championship and with this event offering the club a great opportunity to raise funds, volunteers are required to help run the bar. Andy Duke and Simon McKinstry are the points of contact and there will be two shifts 1030 - 1530 and 1330 - 1830. If you can help on either of these please contact Simon on 07736 773 113 or Andy on 07803 018 454
The youth awards will be presented at the Clubhouse this Saturday (28th May) at 5.30pm. Following the most successful season since the youth section started in the mid-90s, a large turnout of players, parents and supporters is expected.
For those who fancy their chances as kickers (and doesn't just about everybody at some stage) there will be a penalty kick competition (for all ages) starting at 4.00pm. This will be followed by burgers and hotdogs before the awards are presented.
And the squad photos of the U-17s (Ulster League and Cup winners), U-15s (Ulster Premier League champions) and U-13s (Ulster Plate winners) will be taken at 6.00pm.
Banbridge Thirds rounded off their long season in style by picking up the Harden Cup at Chambers Park on Saturday.
The trophy, awarded to the winners of the play-off between the winners of the five Junior League sections of Ulster rugby, last resided in the Rifle Park clubhouse in 1991, when Bann's Third XV, then operating under the nickname of "Heslip's Heroes", had brought it back from Ravenhill.
Banbridge 3rds completed the season in some style on Saturday adding the Harden Cup to their Junior 2 league title after a hard fought victory over Dungannon 4ths. Two tries apiece from Gary McKibben and John Porter plus 12 points from the boot of Mark Doherty saw Bann secure the win despite a late comeback effort from their Tyrone opponents.
Full report to follow.
Having defeated Crawford Cup winners and Junior Section One champions Armagh Seconds 46-20 in the preliminary round of the Harden Cup, Bann Thirds might have been expected to stroll it against Junior Three winners Grosvenor Seconds in the semi-final.
That was anything but the case as the city side proved to be a well-organised outfit with a solid defence and pace aplenty in the threequarters, leaving Bann to fall back on the trusty boot of full-back Mark Doherty for their narrow win.
A drop goal two minutes from the end of normal time ended Bann's promotion dream at Old Crescent on Saturday.
It was a cruel way to lose out, but having taken a 6-15 lead into the break, the Rifle Park side's failure to add to their tally after the interval had left them vulnerable against an Old Crescent team that wouldn't give up.
Banbridge Under-17s completed the Ulster League and Cup double with a hard-fought win over Ballynahinch in the Cup Final played at Ravenhill last Saturday.
The Bann side had just returned on Wednesday night from an arduous tour in the Biarritz area of France. And after electing to play the first half into the strong wind blowing down the pitch, they needed to dig deep to turn round a 10-17 interval deficit.
Saturday was a day of mixed emotions for Banbridge RFC with the delight for U17s and 3rds with their cup victories tempered by the defeats for the 1st XV and U15s.
A late drop goal for Old Crescent denied Banbridge in their promotion playoff, losing 16-15 in Limerick, while two late tries for City of Derry saw off the U15s cup challenge in the final at Ravenhill.
Meanwhile at Rifle Park, the 3rds emphatically defeated Harden Cup favourites Armagh 2nds 46-20 to progress into the semi-final.
The biggest celebrations of the day were enjoyed by the U17s at Ravenhill where they defeated Ballynahinch 20-17 to complete a fantastic Ulster League and Cup double.
Full reports to follow for all matches.
Last Saturday saw Banns U-15 side play their third Ulster final in three years at Ravenhill......
The Thirds' win over Armagh 2nds in the Harden Cup has set up a semi-final match at Grosvenor next Saturday (7th May), kick off at 2.30pm.
The Harden Cup is contested by each of the Junior League section winners, with this tie pitting the Thirds (winners of Junior 2) against Grosvenor 2nds (winners of Junior 3). The other semi-final will take place at Stevenson Park where Junior 5 winners Dungannon 4ths face Junior 4 winners Omagh 3rds.
With Bann Firsts playing in Limerick on Saturday shortly after the club's U-15 and U-17 teams battle for cup honours at Ravenhill, many of the Rifle Park club's supporters have had tough decisions to make in deciding which venue to attend.
But for one set of parents, Brian and Julie Cromie, the decision has been especially difficult...
The U17s recorded a 37-19 against St-Paul-Les-Dax in the first fixture of their French tour on Monday.
Former club president Ken McElroy and the Nomadic Theatre Company are putting on a fund raising performance of the Rare Oul' Times in the Grand Opera House on Monday 9th May, in support of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.
While our senior squad are in Limerick preparing for their promotion play-off with Old Crescent, two of our youth teams will be at Ravenhill contesting the finals of the provincial cup competitions.
The U-17s take on local rivals Ballynahinch while the U-15s face City of Derry. And with the U-13s having already won the Plate competition at their grade, this could be Bann\'s most successful season ever since youth rugby started at Rifle Park in the mid-90s.
In any other season this end-of-term Ulster League game would have been of little consequence to a Banbridge side which had completed its All-Ireland League programme.
But with the promotion play-off just ten days away the Bann coaches and supporters were keen to see how their side measured up against a team from the higher Divisions.
Saturday 30th April is a big day for Banbridge rugby club with three teams all playing in the climactic match of their season - all needing your support.
The U15s and U17s are both at Ravenhill in the final of their respective cup competitions, kicking off at 12.15 and 13.30 respectively.
And in Limerick, Banbridge will face Old Crescent in a promotion playoff match to decide who will take the final spot in Division 2A - kicking off at 2.30pm.
Your support would be greatly appreciated in Limerick or Belfast.
Banbridge will travel to Limerick for their Ulster Bank League promotion play-off buoyed by a hard-earned success over Seapoint in the last league game of the season.
The South Dublin side travelled to Rifle Park looking for the win that would see them lift the Division Three title in their first season of senior rugby. And cheered on by the two bus-loads of supporters who had travelled north in expectation of a title-winning performance, they looked to be edging home as the game went into injury time.
Bann's Under-13 side came through two tough games in four days to emerge winners of the Ulster Plate competition.
It was a superb effort by a small squad, who having come through as 36-29 winners of Wednesday's night's semi-final against Donegal, travelled to Clogher Valley on Saturday morning to beat Virginia in the final on a 3-1 try count.
A second successive bonus point win in Saturday's postponed Ulster Bank League game guaranteed Banbridge a promotion play-off at the end of the month.
Bann went into the match knowing that they needed five points to put them beyond the reach of Rainey and Nenagh but their nervous supporters had to wait until five minutes from the end for the all-important fourth try.
Bann's U-15's, sponsored by the Northern Bank, reached the final of the Ulster Cup, to be played at Ravenhill on the 30 April, thanks to a thrilling win at Carrick on Saturday.
It was the third season in a row that they had overcome the Co Antrim side at this stage of the competition and was sweet revenge for being adjudged runners up on the first try scored' rule, following their draw with Carrick in the Ulster League play-off just a few weeks ago.
It is with great regret that the Club has learnt of the passing tonight (Wednesday 6th April) of Gilbert Honeyford. Gilbert, father of former player Gary and current U-17 coach Tim, was a long-term member of the club and served on the General Committee and Selection Committee for several seasons.
Our deepest sympathies are extended to his wife Rita, Gary and Tim, daughter Gillian and the wider family circle.
The funeral service will be held on Friday at 11am in Bessbrook Friends' Meeting House, followed by interment at approximately 12.30pm at the New Cemetary, Newry Road, Banbridge.
Last Saturday Bann U15s travelled to Randalstown for a quarter final Ulster Cup encounter. Randalstown, with the elements in their favour, started brightly with their forwards winning good second phase ball at the breakdowns. It was no surprise when their influential out-half released the backline and their winger scored in the corner.
Banbridge picked up the bonus point win they needed at Naas to keep alive their hopes of promotion from Division Three of the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League.
Rainey also recorded a five pointer at home to Wanderers, but Bann know that another bonus-point win this Saturday, when they host Highfield, will guarantee them a play-off against the bottom team in Division Two.
Belfast Harlequins Seconds were visitors to Rifle Park for a league fixture, with Bann fielding a team greatly changed from the previous match due to call-ups and unavailability. However, that seemed to spur on the players who came in, as the team went on to record a 29-5 victory, which was probably even more impressive than the scoreline suggests.
All three youth teams are involved in cup and plate matches this week.
With a 27-8 away win over Malone the U17's have now set up a semi-final match against Dromore in the Ulster Cup. This fixture will be played on the 16th April.
The U-15s semi-final on Saturday is also a repeat of their League play-off, with Carrick again the opposition.....
This Saturday will see Banbridge U17s take on Leinster League Champions Gorey in the All Ireland League Semifinal. The match will be played at Dundalk RFC and kicks off at 3pm.
Gorey topped Leinster's U17 Premier Division South winning six matches from seven. Wins over Boyne and then Navan in the quarter and semi final stages of the playoffs took them into the Leinster League Final. Gorey defeated opponents Mullingar 12-3 in the final to clinch their provincial league title and set up the match against Banbridge.
Like Gorey, Banbridge topped the Ulster Premier Division having suffered just a single defeat during the league campaign. Bann defeated Ballyclare 32-7 in their semifinal playoff match and overcame Malone in the League Final winning 23-0.
Connacht champions Galwegians face Munster's Waterpark in the other semi final to be played on Sunday.
It is hoped to run a supporters bus to Naas this week depending on numbers
Leaving club house at 1030am, leaving from Naas at 1730pm.
Fare £13 approx
If you are interested in going please let John Ewart know asap on 07909978505.
All adult games involving Banbridge teams programmed for this Saturday, 26th March, have been postponed as a mark of respect for Lance- Corporal Stephen McKee, whose funeral service, with full military honours, will be held in Holy Trinity Parish Church at 2pm.
(The minis will meet as usual at 9.30am for a practice. Parents are asked to collect their children at 11.30am sharp.)
Bann`s second string travelled to Donaghadee on Saturday to play in the Conference League with a certain amount of confidence after the previous week's win over Queens. However the unavailability of a large number of players throughout the club gave the XV that fielded an unfamiliar look.
Despite enjoying parity of possession in this Ulster League game, Banbridge succumbed on a 3-1 try count, with the greater pace and superior support play of visitors Belfast Harlequins earning them the points.
Bann Thirds travelled to neighbours Portadown last Friday night for the teams' first league encounter of the season. It was a great evening for rugby, if a little dark on Port's 'reserve' floodlit pitch.
Don't miss your chance to witness Ireland's opening international fixture at the new Aviva stadium when World Champions South Africa visit on 6th November. The club plans to run a bus to this fixture dependent on numbers.
If you, your family or friends are interested in tickets for this or any other match, please contact John Ewart on 07909 978505 or download the application below. Follow the link for match fixtures.
Click here to download your application form.
Banbridge Under 11s and Under 12s should meet at Lisburn Rugby Club at 6.30pm this Friday evening for a floodlit tournament.
Contacts are John McIlwaine 0772 1759 887 (U12s) George MacCormac (U11s) 028 4062 7797 or 07988028442
On Saturday Bann Seconds played hosts to Queens in the 2nd XV League at Rifle Park, but before the game commenced, mere sport took a back seat, as the players and supporters paid their respect to Banbridge man, L/Cpl Stephen McKee who was tragically killed on Wednesday whilst serving in Afghanistan with the 1st Batt, RIR.
The game itself started brightly for both teams, as they both tried to set patterns. However, as the game progressed, it was Bann, although lumbering at times, who began to show the greater killer touch as they eventually won the try count by 6 to 2 in recording an impressive 36-23 win over a team with only one previous defeat.
It's an action packed Super Saturday this weekend at Rifle Park with three home matches, the final round of the Six Nations on TV, as well as the next Friends of Banbridge RFC draw. The 1sts welcome Belfast Harlequins in the Ulster League while the 4ths and 5ths are also at home.
Ireland face England at 5pm in the Six Nations, with the FOBRFC draw following around 7pm before the final match of the championship between France and Wales kicks off.
It was with great sadness that the club learnt of the death of Stephen McKee. Stephen, who was killed in Afghanistan whilst serving for the Royal Irish Regiment, had played for the club over a number of seasons. The President, Committee and members extend their deepest sympathy to Stephen's wife, parents, brothers and sisters.
After the loss inspirational captain Ben Thompson last week to injury, Toby Baxter took over the leadership for this important cup tie. Almost from the kick-off Bann were in the Inishowen "22" and when Matthew Blain broke from the back of the ruck and fed the flying Dubem Ajeh the centre duly scored in the corner.
Banbridge picked up their third Ulster League win of the season, scoring four tries against AIL Division Two side Malone in Belfast to secure the bonus point.
In well-nigh perfect conditions both teams took every opportunity to run the ball, but Bann always had the edge, with a solid display by the pack providing the foundation for a fully-deserved win.
Once again our club's Honorary Secretary Derek Moorhead is running to raise money in support of the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal. This time however he is taking on two marathons starting with the London Marathon on 17th April followed by the Belfast Marathon on 2nd May.
Gillian McNiff, mother of two junior club members is also running the London Marathon and is supporting the NI Children's Hospice.
Bann Seconds travelled to Kilraughts Road last Saturday to play Qualifying League One side and Towns' Cup holders Ballymoney in the quarter-final of this season's competition. After 80 hard-fought minutes a single point separated the sides, unfortunately in favour of the home side.
Banbridge's hopes of a top four finish in Division Three of the Ulster Bank League suffered a severe dent when they went down to an Instonians side obviously intent on showing that their tanking the previous week at Greystones was an aberration.
A battling performance by Banbridge, sponsored by Northern Bank, saw them fight back to earn a draw in the final of the Ulster U-15 League played at Lisburn last Saturday. Unfortunately due to the quirky nature of the Ulster Branch Regulations, the Co Antrim side were declared League Champions by virtue of having scored the first try.
After a sluggish start, Kris Coleman's 'Part-time Postmen' made a rapid ascent to the top of the BRFC Fantasy League to retake a position that he has grown quite accustomed to in recent season. Chris Little's 'Bring Back Rucking' team climbed up to second knocking the previous week's leader Mark Dodds into third place.
Despite suffering defeat, Leslie Mulholland was very happy to fulfil his ambition to play rugby with sons Ross and Craig when the three took to the field in the Fourths match at Ards last weekend. Here is Leslie pictured with Ross (left) and Craig (right).
Two of Bann's youth teams have the chance to make club history on Saturday when they travel to Lisburn for the final of their respective Ulster League.
The Under-17s, sponsored by Gordons Chemists, and the Under-15s, sponsored by Northern Bank, both topped the Ulster Premier Leagues and having successfully negotiated the play-offs involving the winners of the Area Leagues they now face the final test of their claims to be the top teams in the province.
With several regular players missing the Leader-sponsored Bann Under-13 squad travelled to Newry with five debutants. Up stepped Ross Cartmill, Jordan Mount and John Buller from the U-12s. Sam Baxter and John Bebbington were also late additions to the depleted squad.
Bann's U17 side, sponsored by Gordons Chemists, took on Ballyclare in the semi-final of the Brewin Dolphin Ulster League play-offs on Saturday and after a bruising encounter had secured their place in the final.
Banbridge produced another late, late show to snatch victory out of the grasp of visitors Nenagh in last weekends Ulster Bank League game.
A ferocious defensive display by the Tipperary side, together with the boot of out-half David Devaney, appeared to have the visitors on course for success as the game went into the dying minutes with them nursing an 11-14 lead.
The Bann Thirds side which travelled to play at Ballynahinch last Saturday was somewhat depleted for a number of reasons, particularly in the pack. This is an area in which Ballynahinch are strong, and their decision to take Bann to the short and narrow High School pitch spelt trouble from the start.
Bann Fifths entertained Malone Fifths in the quarter-finals of the Butler Shield and the visitors started the stronger with their inside-centre breaking two Bann tackles before scoring under the posts within 5 minutes of the kick-off.
Banbridge RFC will be fund raising on behalf of the IRFU Charitable Trust at the forthcoming home fixture against Nenagh Ormond on 19th February 2011. Members and visitors will have the opportunity to support this very worthy cause through out the day.
The Irish Rugby Football Union Charitable Trust was formed in 1978 to assist severely injured rugby players in their everyday lives, and help to restore their confidence and independence.
After a fitful first half, in which it was at times difficult to know which team had promotion ambitions and which was struggling near the bottom of Division Three, Banbridge came good in the second period to pick up a maximum haul of points from this Ulster Bank League game at Ards.
When the final whistle blew on the adjacent pitch to signal a win for Bann's AIL side over Ards Firsts, it looked as if Bann's Fourth XV were going to make it a double success. At that stage they held a slender 7-8 lead over Ards Thirds with just four minutes left. Then Ards pounced on a dropped pass to score under the posts, adding the conversion to go 14-8 in front.
An intercept try 20 minutes from no-side settled this Ulster Bank All-Ireland League game played at Rifle Park on Saturday. It capped a fine individual display by Rainey full-back Mark O'Connor, the scorer of all his side's points.
Bann Seconds battled their way into the quarter-final of the Towns' Cup thanks with a tenacious win over Omagh. The Co Tyrone side had seen off the challenge of Portadown in the previous round and arrived in confident mood, albeit without the services of injured former Bann prop Steven Rutledge.
Bann's U-15 side had home advantage over Letterkenny in the first game of the Group Stage of the Ulster Cup. Despite missing several players due to ski trips, Bann immediately put pressure on the large visitors' pack and from quick second phase ball James Waugh outpaced the Letterkenny defence to score an excellent solo try.
The U17s took to the field on Saturday with a reduced squad and the late loss of Ireland U18 Adam Doherty through injury. Peter Cromie was required to play at centre to cover Doherty's absence. This however did not affect the performance of a talented team who proved their strength in depth by running out comfortable winners in their first game in the Group Stage of the provincial cup ompetition.
Club members (Players and alickadoos) interested in taking part in a southern hemisphere tour planned for the summer of 2012 are asked to attend a meeting in the rugby club on Thursday 10th February at 9pm (following training).
League-leading Bann Thirds were paired against Instonians Thirds in the second round of this year's Crawford Cup on Saturday past. Rifle Park was buzzing with four home games, and the Thirds were keen to put in a good performance.
With Banbridge Fifths having drawn Ophir Thirds in the first round of the Butler Shield, the attraction of the knock-out competition meant that a few players who had been out injured made themselves available again.
The Fourths faced Coleraine at Rifle Park and it was the visitors that started the match the stronger. Within the first five minutes Coleraine had pressurised the Bann "22" and two penalties were converted to give them a six point lead.
On Friday night Bann Seconds entertained a Ballynahinch second string with an abundance of AIL Division One experience, and although another narrow result went against them, they are now putting in improved performances after the enforced break at Christmas.
Banbridge are making a habit out of producing dramatic finales to their Ulster Bank All-Ireland League games this season.
Three tries in the final 15 minutes earned them a bonus-point win at Wanderers and in their last AIL outing at Rifle Park, Dale Carson's last-minute try secured a narrow win against Sunday's Well.
But the escape act they produced last Saturday bettered both of those as they recovered from a seemingly hopeless 9-25 deficit with 55 minutes played to edge the narrowest of wins against an impressive Greystones side.
The Fourths faced Coleraine at Rifle Park and it was the visitors that started the match the stronger. Within the first five minutes Coleraine had pressurised the Bann "22" and two penalties were converted to give them a six point lead.
A Banbridge RFC President's Select XV will face the Perennials at Deramore Park, Belfast, on Sunday 30th January, kick off at 2.30pm. The President's XV will be selected from our clubs Over 40s. Anyone interested in playing should contact Derek Moorhead on 07074 750193.
Greystones RFC have organised a golf outing to Royal Co Down for their members on Friday 27th January and have extended an invite to Banbridge members who would like to join them on the day. The cost is a very reasonable £50. Anyone interested in playing should contact John Spiers on 07595 170006 as soon as possible.
Banbridge will welcome Greystones to Rifle Park the following day for the All Ireland League fixture.
Sporting Smiles who specialise in custom fitting mouthguards for athletes will be attending Banbridge Rugby on three Tuesday evenings in January. Sporting Smiles founder, club member and dentist, John Haughey will be at the club on 11th and 18th of January and 5th February to offer guidance, take teeth impressions and fit mouthguards for any players interested. Mouthguards will cost £25 and are available in club colours and other three colour variations.
The clubs allocation of tickets for the Ireland v England is now sold out. Any applications for this match received after today will be put on a reserve list should any tickets become available.
There are still some tickets available for the Ireland v France match.
After the extended Christmas break due to the weather Banbridge Fourths faced Dromore Thirds in the first round of the Forster Cup. It was never going to be a classic in the wet and windy conditions at Rifle Park, but rather a day to roll up the sleeves and grind out a result against our neighbours.
Bann's U-15 side clinched the Ulster Premier League with a 3-try success over City of Derry last Saturday. The teams defied the difficult weather and underfoot conditions to fight out a keenly-contested game, with Bann's superiority up-front ultimately giving them the edge, the points and the title.
Banbridge's rugby season resumed on Saturday after the freeze-enforced break with a trip to Navan for the re-arranged game.
The Rifle Park side duly picked up the win expected against a team sitting second from bottom of Division Three. But the fluency and control which had been increasingly evident in their last two outings against Wanderers and Sunday's Well was, perhaps understandably, missing.
Adult rehearsals for the BRFC 2011 Fashion Show begin on Wednesday 19th January at 8pm at the club.
Kids open auditions are at 10.30am at the Belmont on Saturday 22nd June.
And of course the fashion show takes place on Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th April at the Belmont.
Bann Seconds played their first match since 20 November when they travelled to Dungannon in the 2nd XV League. Even though they had lacked match practice, they were disappointed to come away with a 18-11 defeat.
It is hoped to run a supporters bus to Navan this Saturday (depending on numbers). The bus will leave the club at 10.45am; leaving Navan at 5.00pm with cost in the order of £10 each again depending on numbers. Anyone wishing to go on the bus should call John Ewart on 07909 978 505 to confirm a place.
The annual Christmas fixture between a Banbridge RFC XV and Banbridge Academy Old Boys XV will proceed tomorrow as planned (possibly as a game of touch rugby depending on the pitches). Kick off is at 4pm.
The clubhouse will be open from 3.30pm and the Ulster v Leinster match will be shown on tv as well.
Afterwards there will be food and live music from the club's very own Daniel and the Lion.
We are pleased to announce that today's Players Festive Feast will proceed as planned. The clubhouse will be open from 3pm and everyone attending is reminded that dinner will be served at 6pm sharp. If you are not there in time you may not get served dinner.
Banbridge will take on Ballymena in a friendly on Monday night (20th) at Rifle Park, kick-off 7.30pm.
The match has been arranged to give both teams game time after the loss of fixtures due to the freezing weather. Bann coach Daniel Soper is also hoping to confirm a trip to Portadown on Thursday 30th December as he prepares for the re-arranged All-Ireland League fixture at Navan on 8th January.
Banbridge Fifths travelled to Donaghadee to compete in the first round of the McCambley Cup. Bann started the match with a strong wind at their backs and were able to use it effectively to put pressure on Donaghadee in their own half.
Banbridge mini rugby player Eoin Rice will run out at this Saturday's European Cup fixture at Ravenhill as Ulster's team mascot.
Rory Best might be injured but Banbridge RFC will still be represented when Ulster take the field against Bath in the European Cup this Saturday as mini player Eoin Rice will pull on the famous white shirt and run out as team mascot.
All players note - senior squad training will take place this Tuesday (7th) at Banbridge Leisure Centre from 7.30pm to 9pm; and Thursday night at the rugby club as normal. Full attendance is expected.
2011 will see Banbridge's perennial touring side The Blue Sox take flight for Europe once again, this time for Rimini on the east coast of Italy.
The tour will depart Banbridge on Friday 23rd returning on Monday 26th September 2011.
Names are now being taken - follow the link below to find out more.
On a freezing Friday night at Chambers Park in Portadown, Bann got off to a positive start and pressurised the Portadown line for the opening 10 minutes. A couple of scoring chances went begging before the ball was moved left along the Bann back line inside the Portadown 22 for Russell Anderson to enter the line from full-back and speed through a gap for a deserved 5-0 lead.
Although very cold, the weather was otherwise nearly perfect for a fast and open game of rugby. However, with the usual intensity between Banbridge and Dromore sides evident, both teams started cautiously and kept the ball tight.
Banbridge put on another late, late, show to claim a second successive bonus point win in Division Three of the All-Ireland League.
With just five minutes left on the clock the Co Down side were facing a nine point deficit. Visitors Sundays Well already had their bonus point safely tucked away, thanks in part to some indifferent defence which allowed them to cross the Bann line four times. At that stage they were certainly anticipating taking the maximum haul on the long trip back to Cork, as Bann battled to take something out of the game.
Omagh Thirds, on the back of a 31-game winning streak, made the long journey to a cold and frosty Rifle Park to play Banbridge Fourths. The men from Omagh surely thought it would be business as usual. The County Down men had other ideas.
Bann Fourths travelled the short distance to face local opponents Portadown for this floodlit fixture last Firday night. No 8 Andy Brown returned from injury after recovering from a broken toe and out-half Scott Jardine also made his comeback after four weeks on the sideline with a knee injury.
Bann Seconds resumed their 2nd XV league campaign with a visit to a Ballynahinch team that had confidence in abundance after dumping Qualifying One leaders Cooke out of the Junior Cup the previous week.
For the third time this season Bann faced Ballynahinch and knew they would have a hard mornings work in front of them. Bann started the the game retaining their own kick off and through their forwards brought play deep into the Hinch 22
What a difference a week makes. For the first time this season Bann attacked from the off. The mobile forwards, playing an off-loading game varied the point of attack and had Hinch in defensive mode. It was not long before the impressive Thomas McRoberts crashed over near the posts to score, Cameron Cromie adding the extras.
With All-Ireland League rugby taking a back seat on Saturday, Banbridge once again travelled to face Ballynahinch, this time in the Ulster League. With the Senior Cup drubbing five weeks previously fresh in the players minds, the game offered Bann an opportunity to restore pride and the possibility of over-turning a Ballynahinch side that is yet to be defeated in league competition this season.
While there was no denying the visitors the right to the spoils in this friendly fixture, Bann Fifths made it all too easy for the visitors as they gifted them too many scoring chances through poor kicking and ill-directed passes.
Bann U17s travelled to Carrick on Saturday to take on the bottom of the table team in what proved to be a one-sided affair. Even with four of their regular squad unavailable Bann proved too strong for the home side.
Bann's U-17s travelled to Malone on Saturday to play the only team to have beaten them this season. The match would decide who topped the table this week and both teams were well aware it was a must win game.
Due to a mixture of administrative mix-ups and dubious cancellations by other clubs, Banbridge Seconds finally took to the field for the first time in five weeks when they entertained Carrick Firsts in the Conference League.
Twenty six points courtesy of Banbridge out-half Robin Thompson saw the Co Down side pick up the second win of their AIL campaign at a sunlit Rifle Park last Saturday. With Suttonians matching the home sides tally of three tries, the points difference between the sides was down to the faultless kicking of the Bann No 10. But those bare facts would suggest that Bann were fortunate winners, a conclusion which would be at odds with the opinion of most spectators at the game.
Bann Fifths made the daunting trip to take on Cavan Seconds with just 14 men after three late withdrawals from the squad. The recommended mix of youth and experience was taken to extremes with the teams ages ranging from 17 to 47. But the balance proved just right as Bann came home with the points after a thrilling game in which the lead changed hands six times.
Another bonus point win for City of Derry reinforced their position as front-runners in Division Three of the All-Ireland League.
There was no denying the home side's right to their success, but for close on an hour Banbridge had threatened to stop the Derry bandwagon in its tracks.
Bann U-13s' five-match winning run came to an end on Saturday when Portadown ran in four tries without reply. This was certainly a much-changed Portadown side to the one that lost 83-0 at Rifle Park in September.
Bann travelled to Ballynahinch hoping to make it three from three in the league. But they made their usual slow start and Hinch took advantage to register the opening try. This spurred Bann into action and with some forward pressure Matthew Beck crashed over to level the scores. The forwards decided to wrestle the hungrier Hinch pack when the fifteen man game was needed.
The conditions were ideal for the Under-17s third league game of the season, played at Ballymacarn Park last Saturday. Bann were hoping to play an expansive game but Hinch had the early possession and they kept the visitors camped in their own half for the first 15 minutes, kicking a penalty to open the scoring.
The Greers of Antrim sponsored Banbridge Thirds played their fifth League game of the season in front of a fairly large crowd at Rifle Park on Saturday. Stand-in Captain Andy Craig was hoping to keep the teams 100% record intact with this Lisburn team being seen as a stiff test. Manager Andy Duke and Coach William Kirkwood had a few changes to make as some players from last weeks win against Larne Seconds were injured or unavailable.
Four years ago when Banbridge last met Ballynahinch in the quarter final stages of the Ulster Senior Cup, the Rifle Park men had prevailed, winning out with a seven point margin. Fast forward five seasons and the difference this time between the two sides could not have been starker with Ballynahinch winning with a significantly greater tally and no reply.
With three wins from three starts under their belt, Bann Thirds took on Larne Seconds at Rifle Park last Saturday. Their opposition had also recorded three wins from three so a tough encounter was expected from the start.
After last weeks dismal showing against Armagh, the Seconds had the opportunity to put some of the things right against Ballymena. After starting the game so brightly, they were eventually overtaken by the visitors with just two minutes on the clock for a 26-23 defeat.
It wasnt the start to the season that Banbridge had been hoping for and working towards. And there was no disguising the disappointment among players, coaches and supporters as they made their way northwards after Saturdays opening day defeat at Barnhall.
Bann Fourths produced an impressive performance at home to see off the challenge from Rainey Old Boys. The Bann side was at full strength with some players available for the first time this season and it showed. From the kick-off the forwards were on the offensive and Rainey conceded a penalty which Craig Mulholland slotted over for the first points of the match.
Banbridges last outing before the start of the All-Ireland League campaign may have ended in defeat to a moderate Ballymena side. But coach Daniel Soper will have taken heart from many aspects of his sides display.
Bann Seconds travelled to top Junior Qualifying League side Armagh on Saturday in the Junior Cup. Whilst there were high hopes of a good showing, the Bann men knew that it would be a tall order to take a win away with them.
Banbridge will host the first mini rugby blitz of the new season on Saturday. With Armagh, Lurgan and Virginia bringing their full squads to take part, over 400 players from ages 6-11 will line out in an event sponsored by The Outlet at Bridgewater Park. Matches kick off at 10.00am in all six age groups and while competition will be keen, the emphasis of the festival will be on fun for all.
Banbridge RFC will play host to the internationally acclaimed play 'The Rare Oul Times' on September 24th. The play, written by past president Ken McElroy and performed by the Nomadic Theatre Company, follows the bar room exchanges between two of Irelands most volatile drinkers and literary figures, Brendan Behan and Patrick Kavanagh.
Bann Thirds took the field at home to Bangor 2nds last Saturday with a good blend of youth and experience. From early in the game it was evident that the good attendances at training so far this season were really improving the teams performance.
Having begun something of a winning run, Bann travelled to Hamilton Park on Saturday with high hopes of securing a fourth consecutive victory. However they were to return home empty-handed following an ultimately frustrating 30-21 Ulster League defeat to Ards.
Bann U17s hosted Ballynahinch at Rifle park on Saturday hoping to repeat their victory earlier this season. The visitors had the advantage of the wind in the first half and used it to try to pin down Bann in their own half, but the back three of Richard Graham, Christopher Knox and in particular Steven Ruddock invariably ran the ball back into Hinch territory.
Bann Seconds travelled to Hamilton Park to take on an Ards team that had already registered a win against Ballymena Seconds. Bann fielded most of the same youthful team that had been so cruelly exposed two weeks previously against Ballyclare, with the significant addition of three older heads
Banbridge prop Michael Cromie is in the Ulster Ravens starting line-up for the opening match of their season to be played against Munster in Nenagh this afternoon.
Jonny Murphy again lines out for the U-20s in the last game of their inter-provincial programme in Connacht; Out-half Andrew Morrison will be in the U-19s (Clubs) squad that takes the field against Munster at Shaws Bridge on Saturday (ko 12 noon); and the Ulster U-18s (Youth) team to take on Connacht in Galway on Saturday includes Adam Doherty at out-half and Owen Gallagher in the centre.
Bann's bonus point win under the Rifle Park floodlights on Wednesday evening lifted them into fifth place in the Ulster Senior League. But it was a very mixed performance against a Rainey side struggling for early-season form
Past Club Captain Jonny Martin and nine of his friends are taking on the 2011 New York Marathon in aid of the Ulster Cancer Foundation and Marie Curie Cancer Care and his fundraising efforts begin this weekend.
Banns U17s travelled to Ballynahinch for their first match of the season with a depleted squad for a variety of unavoidable reasons. This however did not deter the team from turning in a fine performance as they ran out worthy winners.
Banbridge's Andrew Morrison starts at outhalf this Saturday for Ulster U19's against the Irish Exiles. The match at Shaws Bridge kicks off at 12.30pm. While Jonny Murphy played in Ulster U20s who recorded a 20-15 win over Munster in Cork last weekend. The U20s Interpros continue this Friday against Leinster at Ravenhill. Kick off at 5pm.
The last time Banbridge faced Queen's, the two sides were vying for a place in the All-Ireland League Division Three Final, and a thrilling contest in the Spring sunshine yielded eight tries in total, with the students ultimately triumphant
Bann Seconds travelled to Ballyclare last week for their first game in the Conference League against the Qualifying League Two outfit. Although Bann were always expecting a very difficult game, they did not expect a 76 - 0 rout. The fielding of a side which could really have been classed as an U-20 team left Bann very short of experience against the seasoned Clare XV.
The Greer's of Antrim-sponsored Thirds travelled to Ballymena for their first game of the season in Junior League Section 2. The team had a mixture of experience and youth with Jonny Singleton, Matthew Bird and Ryan Ringland, graduates from Bann's youth system, all getting their first outings as senior players.
Banbridge Junior Rugby Club would like to welcome all boys and girls, from the ages of 5 to 12 years, to mini rugby on Saturday 4th September from 9.30am to 11.30am
Try mini rugby free for one month, and sign up for the season if you like it.
It was hardly the start that new coach Daniel Soper had hoped for, seeing his Banbridge side ship 50 points in the opening Ulster League game of the season. But at least the Kiwi now knows the task ahead of him as he plans for the All-Ireland League programme later in the season.
Two Banbridge teams will be competing in this years Fiddlers Green 10s taking place this Saturday at Kilbroney Park.
Banbridge's Shield side will face Newry, Dromore and Balbriggan in their group, while Banbridge's Cup side will play against Cavan, Newry and Viagra Boys.
The event starts at 1pm, and players are asked to meet at the club for midday. All support would be greatly appreciated.
Army Technical Officers have carried out a controlled explosion on a World War II shell found on the old 1st XV pitch at Rifle Park.
The scene on Thursday evening was attended by two police squad cars and two bomb disposal units who confirmed the explosive device was 'viable' before making the scene safe.
Thursday evening touch rugby was momentarily interrupted with the sound of the small explosion, but continued on as before with most of the players oblivious to the events nearby.
A sense of optimism permeates the air at Rifle Park these days, and few could argue that it is misplaced with signs throughout the club pointing to a positive future.
For the second season running a Banbridge youth player collected the Calor Gas Ulster Youth Player of the Year Award, this time in the guise of Jonny Murphy who also represented Ireland U18 in the European Championships along with Banbridge team mate Charles Gallagher.
Meanwhile the 2nd XV produced their best league performance since the club became Senior, finishing fourth in the league, in the company of teams who traditionally would have been viewed as more dominant forces in Ulster rugby. The 2nds league campaign included a run of thirteen games unbeaten stretching from October to April and their season points strongly to a strength in depth in the club that has, in other seasons, been lacking.
The strongest portents for the future can be found in the 1st XV squad.
Alan Ferris was elected as President for the 2010-2011 season at the rugby club AGM which took place on Friday evening in the clubhouse. John Ewart was elected Senior Vice President, while the other significant change sees Gareth Kelly follow in his father's footsteps taking on the role of Honorary Treasurer from the outgoing Trevor Sneddon.
Simon McKinstry will once again captain the 1st XV in the forthcoming season.
For a full list of office bearers, see the committee page on the club section of the website.
Ashley Finlay was named 1st XV Player of the Year at Friday nights Formal held in the Belmont Hotel. Philip Morrison picked up the 2nd XV Player of the Year as well as the top try scorer award, the Tamati Shield, for his 23 tries over the course of the season. Stephen Nelson, Alastair Lewis and Paul Cairns were awarded the 3rd, 4th and 5th XV awards respectively.
Andy Morrison won the U19 Player of the Year award; Ryan Patterson collected the Best Newcomer Award, while Michael Cromie won Most Improved Player Award.
John Ewart was awarded the Club Honours Award in recognition of his dedication and hard work over the season.
The Team of the Year award went to the 2nd XV who went on a 13 game unbeaten run stretching from October to April. Team Manager Alastair Campbell and Captain Andrew Davidson collected the trophy.
The last Saturday of the Ulster League season saw Instonians and Banbridge provide a feast of tries at Shaw's Bridge, with the home side coming out on top by a 10-8 margin.
With Instonians' front row resources severely depleted through injury and unavailability, they had already conceded the league points to the visitors before the action began. But if the scrums were uncontested from the outset, the other exchanges appeared to have lost none of the edge that is traditional between the sides.
After a hard-fought game Bann's Under-15s had to settle for runners-up medals after coming off second-best to a strong Malone side.
After conceding an early try, the Rifle Park lads hit back to take a 7-5 lead into the interval, thanks to a try and conversion from out-half Macauley Little. But the injury-enforced retirement of the talismanic play-maker reduced Bann's attacking options and a second Malone try 10 minutes into the second period left the Belfast side firmly in the driving seat.
Prematch receptions will be held at all home fixtures this season on the dates below. The receptions are open to all and anyone wishing to attend should contact John Ewart no later than the Wednesday prior to book their place. John can be contacted on 07909 978 505.25 Aug Ballymena09 Oct Connemara30 Oct Suttonians27 Nov Sundays Wel08 Jan Belfast Harlequins22 Jan Instonians29 Jan Greystones05 Feb Rainey OB19 Feb Nenagh Ormond26 Mar Highfield16 April Seapoint