It is with much regret that we record the death of our esteemed member, George Chambers, who passed away this morning (Friday). George was an active member for over 40 years as a player, then Honorary Fixtures Secretary and for many years bagman to the First XV. The Club's sympathies are extended to his wife Jean, sons Richard, Michael and Stephen and daughter Carolyn, a family with deep roots in our club. As a mark of respect the First XV's Senior Cup fixture at Ballymena this evening has been postponed. George's funeral service will be held in Bannside Presbyterian Church at 2.30pm on Sunday.
After opening their league campaign with a comprehensive win over Randalstown, Bann’s Under-16 side travelled to meet much tougher opposition at Ballymena. They eventually had to concede defeat to a bigger side, but not before they had shown great qualities of spirit and resilience, battling back after conceding three first half tries to reduce the deficit to 17-14.
This game was decided by a last-minute try from visitors Cooke after a see-saw battle in which Bann created enough chances to secure the win. Certainly the home side dominated the opening 20 minutes with Cooke making only fleeting excursions out of their own half. Cameron Cromie’s break in the 7th minute carved open the visitors’ defence and centre Andrew Sleator carried on the move. He then drew the full-back and fed his out-half with the return inside pass which put Cromie in under the posts, a drop kick from the same player adding the extras and Bann were up-and-running.
Banbridge kicked off the mini-rugby Festival season, hosting their fourth annual tournament at Rifle Park last Saturday. The home club was joined by Armagh, Dromore and Portadown, with over 700 players aged from 6-12 involved in a series of games.
A last-minute try from flanker Stephen Irvine salvaged a point for Banbridge from a game which the players know should have been won. Assistant coach Robert Ervine said he was disappointed with the result but couldn’t criticise his team for effort. “Thomond came with a very big side but we more than matched them in terms of intensity and commitment,” he said after the game.
A last minute penalty salvaged a losing bonus point for Bann from this Ulster Bank All-Ireland League fixture played at Upper Malone. On the balance of play Queen’s deserved their five-point haul, especially after a first half in which they set the pace, closed down the Bann attack before it could build up any momentum and ran in three tries to take a 19-7 lead into the break.
Bann started their Ulster U-18 league campaign against Randalstown and the visitors began the brighter of the two teams with backs and forwards linking to take the play into Bann’s half but the home defence was strong and stopped any real threat to their line.
Bann’s Second team notched up their second league win in impressive fashion, scoring ten tries after City of Derry had logged their only points of the game with a 2nd minute drop goal. Winger Keir Patterson finished off a fine team try to open his side’s scoring and after Clark McAllister had kicked a penalty Mark Irvine scored from a ‘catch and drive’. Skipper Paul Ross touched down from close range to put his side 18-3 up at the break.
Bann’s Under-16 side kicked off their season with a narrow but deserved win in this home friendly. Jordan McKibbin’s pace was the key factor in his two tries, with Jack Dologhan grabbing the other touchdown. Jack Myles struck the vital conversion that separated the sides.
In their last Ulster League outing before the All-Ireland campaign starts, Bann took advantage of a depleted Dungannon side to run in eight tries at a sunny Rifle Park. It was a performance that Daniel Soper described as a ‘step in the right direction’. But the Bann coach was not getting carried away. “It was generally pretty good but there were still a lot of errors”, he said reflecting on the game.
Bann Seconds recovered from a very poor start to eventually triumph over Belfast Harlequins and maintain their 100% league record. A series of penalties gave the visitors the early advantage and they maximised it to score two converted tries for a 0-14 lead.
Banbridge gave their new pitch a stylish All-Ireland baptism as they ran in four tries to get their league campaign off to the best possible start. The win was all the sweeter coming as it did against a Cashel side which on this showing will win more games than they lose. The Co Tipperary visitors came equipped with a mighty pack which set its stall out from the first whistle as their forwards tried to bludgeon their way through the Bann defence.
Two tries in two minutes mid-way through the second half put paid to Bann’s chances of building on their opening day Ulster League win at Ards. In an evenly match game up to that point, Bann probably had had slightly the more promising scoring opportunities. But one slick City of Derry move and one piece of slovenly defence by Bann left the home side 12 points in arrears, a deficit they never looked like making up in the 22 minutes that remained.
Bann Under 18s commenced their season with a friendly match against local rivals Ballynahinch. Bann started strongly and good supporting play through their forwards took them into the ‘Hinch half. When Bann threatened to score the ‘Hinch back row put in some strong tackles to keep the match level.
Banbridge RFC Junior Club were awarded Club of the Year at last nights Banbridge Junior Sports Awards. Congratulations to last seasons Chairperson, Donna Mount and present Chairman Paul Wright-well deserved recognition of the commitment and effort of the committee and coaches.
Applications are invited from paid up members for International Tickets and should be returned no later than 31st October 2014. Forms can be downloaded from this website under the club/ information tab.
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 Blackrock & Nenagh Matches are now sold out.
This years mini season starts on Sat 6/9/14 with registration beginning at 0930 at the clubhouse. There will be a short practice on the day and a chance to meet your son/daughters new coaches for the new season. All new players are more than welcome and we would ask to invite all your friends and families who may be interested. We look forward to seeing you all.
Bann Seconds followed up on their 75-0 mid-week win over Newry by scoring four tries without reply against their Ards counterparts. But their win could, and probably should, have been by a much greater margin given their domination of much of the game. Coach Gareth Bronte was disappointed by his team’s work at the ruck, where too often Ards managed to turn over ball. “We were much too slow to get in support of the ball-carrier,” he said after the game. “Ok, we won and I’m happy with that, but this team is capable of playing so much better. And we’ll have to if we’re to make an impression in this league.”
Banbridge opened their Ulster Championship League campaign in style, running in a ten tries against an Ards side that worked hard defensively in the first half before caving in over the final quarter of the game. There was little in the opening half hour’s play to suggest that the game would ultimately turn into a rout. True, Bann had the early chances to score, with prop Stuart Cromie and No 8 Jonny Graham both being denied scores when a TMO might have adjudged otherwise. Other scoring chances were discarded on the back of dropped passes or penalty infringements as the visitors continued to dominate.
Annual Subscriptions are now due. Click on the website link under Club-Information-Membership and you can download a form and standing order form if you wish to pay monthly. Membership now offers -Use of Gym facility -Free hire of Club function room and kitchen -Issue of Membership card and discounted rate at Bar -Entitlement to apply for international tickets
BT Sport has arrived for the New Season, with 3 large screen TV's throughout the Club catering for an audience of over 200. With Ulster kicking off their European Cup Challenge exclusively live on BT Sport on the 18th October vs Leicester Tigers Club Members and friends can enjoy the game in the surroundings of your local club, a full list of live BT Sports fixtures can be found on the BT Sport Website. If not already a Club Member why not sign up now and receive the following benefits: -Use of Gym facility -Free hire of Club function room and kitchen -Issue of Membership card and discounted rate at Bar -Entitlement to apply for international tickets Banbridge RFC the home of BT Sport.
Banbridge RFC will be hosting an Ulster Rugby Summer camp between the 4-8th August 2014.
This is a great week of fun (930am-130pm) for boys and girls aged 6-12 to either experience rugby for the first time or to develop their skills further.
They will also get to meet members of the Ulster Rugby squad during the week.
You can find out more and sign up through the link below:
If the link doesn't work just go direct to the Ulster Rugby website
The final draw for the 2013-14 season will be held in the Clubhouse on Saturday 14th June. Food will be available for all ‘Friends’ from 7.30pm and the draw will take place at 9.30 pm. Rifle Park has had a much needed facelift during the season, with the refurbishment of the old pitch and the resurfacing of the grass area and car park adjacent to the entrance to the club. This will be ready for the start of the 2014-15 season and will be used by all sections of our club. That follows on from another successful playing season in which the U15's won the Ulster Bowl final, the U17's won the Ulster Plate final and the U19's achieved the Ulster League and Cup double. The 1st XV finished a creditable 8th in AIL division 2A. Thank you for playing an important part in that success by your support for the club as a ‘Friend,’ which goes a long way to ensuring we can provide top quality playing facilities at Rifle Park. I hope you are able to come along on the 14th when the draw for the final prizes of £1,000 and £150 will be made. The rollover for those present on the night of the draw now sits at £300 and that will be drawn until won – so come along, enjoy your steak and you might get lucky! Food will be available for non-‘Friends’ (£5 for a steak and £3 for a burger plus salad) but please let me know, for catering purposes, if you plan to attend and if you will be accompanied.
New Junior Committee for 2014/15 Season. Chairman- Paul Wright. Vice-Chairman- Ivan Hutchinson. Hon. Secretary- Rodney Reid. Hon. Treasurer- Raymond Reid. Mini Convenor- George MacCormac. Youth Convenor- David Dodds. Fixtures Secretary- David Dodds. Child Protection Officer- Ivan Jackson. Childrens Officer- Raymond Reid. Childrens Officer- Paul Wright.
After conceding two tries in the opening 10 minutes, Banbridge fought back to retain the Ulster Under-19 Roland Barr Cup in Saturday's final at a sun-drenched Ravenhill. If the large band of Bann supporters were expecting their side to run away with the game, Ballynahinch gave early and clear notice that they weren't there just to make up the numbers.
Simon Mckinstry - Mobile: 07736 773113
Raymond Reid - Mobile: 07720 886357
Andy Duke - Mobile: 07803 018454
John Ewart - Mobile: 07909 978505
Marc Eadie - Mobile: 07827 338401
Alan Harvey - Mobile: 07768 660532
Gareth Bronte - Mobile: 07784 372278
Paul Cairns - Mobile: 07909 910348
Simon Best - Mobile: 07736 388338
Banbridge rounded off their Ulster Championship League campaign by taking maximum points from a seven-try win over Ards, with an Andrew Morrison hat-trick in 13 minutes either side of the interval putting the game beyond Ards' reach.
For the second successive week Banbridge scored four tries against Leinster opposition only to be denied a win by conceding a score from the last action of the game. The previous Saturday an injury time penalty had handed Bective Rangers full points and last weekend, on the same Donnybrook pitch, Old Wesley scored a last-minute unconverted try to share the spoils.
The best possible start and the worst possible finish - that sums up Banbridge´s All-Ireland League game against Bective Rangers last Saturday. With the spring sun shining brightly at Donnybrook Bann made a blistering start, scoring two tries in the opening five minutes. That should have laid the foundation for a bonus point win.
Bann's U-19 coach Willie Kirkwood had nothing but praise for his players despite their defeat in Saturday's All-Ireland semi-final.
"I couldn't have asked for more from them," he said reflecting on the game. "They gave it everything they had and finished the game exhausted.
This mid-week Junior League game produced almost 60 points and thrills aplenty, with Bann Thirds eventually emerging as winners despite being reduced to 14 men with just 10 minutes played. The home side recovered quickly from the loss of injured centre Matthew Kerr, opening the scoring with a Jeff Dodds penalty after a rolling maul had forced Larne back into their "22".
Bann's Under-17s powered their way into the quarter-finals of the Ulster Carpets Plate competition with a comprehensive nine-try win over Larne. Cameron Cromie opened the scoring from the kick-off as he took advantage of a Larne knock-on
There will be a supporters bus going to Donnybrook this Saturday for Banbridge's AIL encounter with Old Wesley. The bus will be leaving the club at 10.30am and will cost £15 per person. Lunch is available at Old Wesley for €15, including match entry fee. Anyone interested should contact John Ewart on 07921 168831.
New Bar Teams have been organised. If you are not on the list and would like to get involved just PM this page and we will get you added. All welcome...Junior and Senior Club as long as you are over 18. Team 1 James McCrum John Shannon, Stuart Cromie, Matthew Bird, John Mullan, Tim Savage, Richard Graham TEAM 2 William Taylor Stephen Jackson, Andrew Craig, Callum Boland, Steven Cowan, Jonny Sleator, Glen Rowan TEAM 3 Simon McKinstry Chris Allen, Peter Cromie, Neal Cochrane, Adam Copes, Josh Coyle, Philip Jordan TEAM 4 Steven Whitten George Scott, Mervyn Coleman, Paul Cairns, John Ewart, Tim Honeyford, Richard Jennings TEAM 5 Stuart Wickie Brian Hanna, Andrew Kirkwood, Jerry Ramsey, Adam Ervine, Peter Irvine, Brian O'Shaughnessy TEAM 6 David Dodds Jeff Dodds, Timothy Dodds, Chris Nelmes, Kier Patterson, Kyle McConnell, Kris Coleman TEAM 7 Marc Eadie Raymond Thompson, Alec Waugh, Ross Semple, Gareth Kelly, Ryan Ringland, Aaron Kennedy TEAM 8 Andy Duke Elliot Fisher, Ben Cross, Alan Thompson, Gareth Liggett, Jake Fisher, Julian Funes TEAM 9 James Cromie Kieran Malcolmson, John McIlwaine, Andrew Davidson, Thomas Cromie, Jonny Martin, Kris Campbell TEAM 10 James Mathers Francois Viljeon, Dale Carson, Jason Gribbon, Adam Kelly, Adam Doherty, Macauley Little TEAM 11 Colin Bickerstaff Ryan Patterson, Stuart Walker, Johnny Graham, Jonny Adams, Jonny McCreery, Lee Geddis, Adam Sterling TEAM 12 Brian Clinghan Barney McKevitt, Robert Buller, Richard McLean, James Andrews, John Porter, Daniel Andrews.
BRFC Junior Club hope to commission an advertisement hoarding to be placed on the "Pitch for All" which is due to open in August 2014.
It is intended to offer the opportunity for mini and youth players, and parents to have their names printed on this hoarding in recognition of their support for this project.
This is being offered at a cost of £20 per name, and is a junior club fund-raising initiative to help secure additional finance which will be utilised for resurfacing of the car parking area adjacent to the pitch at the entrance to the club grounds. Please support this initiative as we are in sight of the finishing line regarding this project.
Banbridge notched up the fourth win of their Ulster Championship League campaign against a Dungannon side that has not enjoyed the best of fortunes this season in either the provincial or national leagues.
Bann's injury-ravaged Under-17s welcomed back out-half Cameron Cromie and centres James Waugh and Curtis Jackson and this trio were to play vital roles in this bruising encounter that was evenly contested from start to finish.
A try each either side of half-time from wingers John Porter and Hugo Harbinson brought Banbridge their fourth All-Ireland League win and edged them closer to mid-table security. Playing with slope and wind advantage in the first half, the visitors had been rocked by a Ben Murphy try in the 18th minute, the Highfield winger having finished off a well-constructed move to give his side a five point lead.
City of Derry's promotion hopes suffered a setback on Saturday when a resurgent Banbridge side deservedly picked up a third win of the season, edging the Rifle Park side further away from the relegation zone. Banbridge coach Daniel Soper was delighted with his team's performance. "We were even better than in the wins against Ballymena and Rainey," he said. "I thought our defence was excellent - the lads seemed to be enjoying their rugby, especially with ball in hand.
Saturday morning rugby came back to Rifle Park with a bang for the U17s after the spell of bad weather. Ross Haughey got his first rugby of the season starting in the front row. Adam Reaney was a late cry-off so Alex Walker started at out half and Cameron Cromie moved to centre. With some intense training sessions under their belt Bann were eager to let loose and test themselves against Armagh.....
Perhaps it was the ‘hangover' from their Ulster Senior Cup success in last mid-week's final, or maybe the absence of a number of key players as a result of their efforts against Ballynahinch at Ravenhill, but for whatever reason Queen's never looked like repeating their AIL and Cup successes over Banbridge in Saturday's Ulster Championship League game.
Bann's U-13s faced Ballymena and knew they would have a hard morning's work in front of them after a run of successive defeats over the past month. Bann started the game retaining their own kick off and through their forwards brought play deep into the Ballymena ‘22'. The pairing of captain Tom Dologhan and Mathew Reid made breaks from rucks and with support from Jordan Howard and James O'Rourke re-cycled to allow Dologhan to score the first try.
For the second successive weekend Banbridge travelled back from Munster with a win under their belts, only this time they collected a try-scoring bonus point for good value. Bruff had only picked up one win in their All-Ireland League campaign this season but they belied their lowly league position by capitalising on some ineffectual kicking to score the opening try in the 10th minute
Banbridge climbed out of the relegation zone in Division 2A thanks to this bonus point Ulster derby win over Rainey. The Rifle Park side were ahead after just three minutes and never looked like giving up that lead, although it wasn't until the last move of the game that they secured the crucial fourth try.
This Saturday Night (12th April) will see the next of our friends draws starting at 7pm.
Before this will be our President vs food challenge which this week will be sponsored by Dominos Pizza in which a club select will face of against the visiting teams in what has become a popular fixture on an AIL Saturday.
Nibbles will also be served from 6.30pm
The Banbridge Rugby Club Ladies Committee have reached 40 years of service and are having a celebratory dinner to mark the occasion.
The Ladies Committee was founded in 1974 to support the men’s club in the catering of events and functions in Rifle Park.
From then until now the Committee has flourished and Banbridge Rugby Club is the envy of clubs all over Ireland for the assistance and support the Ladies Committee provide.
We are therefore keen to contact any past members to come and join us on Friday 16th May to share in these celebrations.
Ladies who were part of the team anytime from 1974 are asked to contact Barbara Cairns on 07990 537504 to express their interest in attending the dinner.
Armagh RFC, Tuesday 25th February 2014 7.30pm – 8.30pm
DR. GARRETT COUGHLAN | BSc Physio, PhD | Medical Coordinator and National U-20's Team Physiotherapist | IRFU Medical Department will be presenting.
Please bring this information to the attention of any parents, players, coaches, referees or other volunteers involved with the game as it is a subject which has implications at all levels.
An invitation is attached for onward transmission to interested parties or to be posted on notice boards. An online booking system is in operation to help record information of attendees as well as links to the IRB Concussion module which is now compulsory study material for all IRFU Coaches.
The annual six nations lunch took place on Sunday the 2nd of February where over 100 people enjoyed a fantastic dinner followed by a riveting Ireland Scotland game. Many thanks go as always to the ladies committee for their hard work.
The contractors recently reported that they are satisfied with the condition and grass growth on the new pitch despite the recent adverse weather conditions. The pitch will be re-sown in the spring and any remedial work will also be undertaken then. The second phase of the project is currently underway with fencing, kerbs and the re- alignment of spectator areas progressing well so a big thank you to all who have enabled this essential work to be carried out.
Bann Thirds picked up their fifth league win of the season as they defied the treacherous conditions and an experienced Cooke side to edge home by the narrowest of margins. The home side had taken a 10-3 lead into the break, thanks to Keir Patterson's try off an Andy Cowan feed from a ruck, with Macauley Little adding the conversion and a later penalty.
Limavady made the long journey to Rifle Park for this Under-19 play-off game last Wednesday. But they found themselves up against a home side in excellent form and despite battling hard throughout the game the visitors eventually shipped five tries while managing a solitary penalty in reply.
A converted try three minutes from the end of this All-Ireland League game salvaged a point for Banbridge. And they were probably fortunate to come away with anything after playing second fiddle to the home side for much of the game.
Bann's Under-19 side took a significant step towards the Ulster Premier League title by defeating the previously unbeaten Portadown side by the narrowest of margins. The Chambers Park side had inflicted the only blemish on Bann's record by defeating them in their previous meeting this season.
Letterkenny made the long trip for this reverse fixture in the league. Bann welcomed back Ben Reid, Samuel Mount and Adam Cromwell from injury. Having narrowly won against the visitors earlier in the season Bann were prepared for a tough encounter.
All are reminded that the Annual General Meeting of the Junior Club is on Tuesday 27th May 2014. The meeting is for all, from coaches and parents at starts at 7.30pm. IF YOU CARE YOU WILL BE THERE!!!!
Galwegians travelled back to Connact on Saturday with the four points they needed to take over top slot in Division 2A of the All-Ireland League. But their defence had to be at its best to keep at bay a Banbridge side that compensated for the absence of a number of regulars with a whole-hearted performance.
Help Needed! Can you spare a few hours to help raise much needed funds for Banbridge RFC?
When: Monday 14 July 2014
Where: Scarva Demesne
What: We are looking for around 20 volunteers to help to direct cars to a parking space commencing at 9.00 am or to help in the marquee with hospitality commencing at 1130 am.
Why: Scarva is one of our major fundraisers of the year with the potential to raise the finance required to carry out maintenance and repair work to two of our pitches and the training area before the start of the 2014/15 season.
Bonus: In addition to helping to raise funds everyone who volunteers is invited to enjoy a delicious steak BBQ and a complementary drink at the clubhouse afterwards as our way of saying THANKS!
For more information please call:
Andy on 07803 018454 or Marc on 07827 338401 re marquee
Derek on 07808 931667 or Paul on 07909 910348re parking.
“The Star of the County Down” was sung in the visitors’ changing room at Eaton Park with especial gusto on Saturday after Banbridge had picked up their first win in five AIL outings by beating the previously all-conquering Ballymena.
The following prematch is a sell out and have no availability and NO walk ins will be catered for.
Old Crescent 1st May
Applications for Six Nations Tickets are now open. Click here to download your application form.
The pre- match receptions on the 14th December (Queens) and 30th November (Galwegians) are fully booked. Unfortunately no walk ins can be catered for!
There is still plenty of availability for other games, contact Stevie Cross for details
Judith Moorhead recently ticked off one of her bucket list items when she met and had her photograph taken with her favourite rugby player (husband Derek excluded of course). Here she is with Ulster and South Africa player Ruan Pienaar who she met on a flight to Bristol.
This Saturday after the dust has settled on the pitch, Club President Noel Thompson will be choosing his select team to face off against Galwegians in the club house in an eating challenge.
After one team stands victorious while the other languishes in defeat complimentary food will be available to all before the 4th Friends Draw of the season.
Its back, our 3rd anual beer festival is set for the 23rd of November. The annual event will have the usual festivities with traditional Bavarian music, beer and games. Tickets cost £10 and come with a FREE half chicken.
Applications for this years RBS 6 Nations AWAY tickets are now due. tickets will be £80 each. Those interested parties should contact John Ewart (07909978505)
Home applications will follow shortly.
This year the Ulster Branch has issued the 'Your Club Your Country' draw with some spectactular prizes on offer. tickets cost £5 each and best of all all the money raised goes straight to the rugby clubs 'Pitch For All' project.
If you would like a ticket ask any player, coach and committee member.
Banbridge picked up their second Ulster League win and a bonus point to boot in a high-scoring game at Magherafelt. Coach Daniel Soper said afterwards that it was important to get the win after successive defeats in their previous two outings. “We played some good rugby today with the ball in hand,” he commented.
With Macauley Little still injured, Jason Gribbon on Ulster U-18 duty and Aaron Kennedy in Bann’s All-Ireland squad, the U-19s were forced to field a makeshift half-back combination in the shape of Alan Thompson and Jack O’Hagan.
With Macauley Little still injured, Jason Gribbon on Ulster U-18 duty and Aaron Kennedy in Bann’s All-Ireland squad, the U-19s were forced to field a makeshift half-back combination in the shape of Alan Thompson and Jack O’Hagan.
With a new season of All Ireland League rugby under way, Banbridge are delighted to have Dalzells of Markethill with Samsung onboard as our new main club sponsor. Dalzells have been long time supporters of Banbridge RFC and the latest development is testament to the Markethill based electrical suppliers commitment to local sport.
A family business with more than 55 years of expertise in home appliances, Dalzells are the largest Independent Home Appliance Retailer in Northern Ireland.
Visit armaghelectrical.com to see their full range of Samsung appliances and much more.
Club Captain Ian Porter (left) wears the new 2013-14 Dalzells and Samsung sponsored 1st XV kit.
The more experienced Bann pack started well and good carries through Kris Eadie and Thomas Thornton took play into the Clogher Valley half. However the Clogher tackling was effective and prevented any Bann scores in the opening period of the game.
Banbridge held their Annual Festival of Mini Rugby last Saturday at Rifle Park. Over 650 players of primary school age from three clubs, Armagh, Ballynahinch and Portadown, joined the host club on a sunny morning when 72 games were played on 12 pitches.
A third place finish in last season’s Division 2A of the All-Ireland League would have marked Banbridge out as being among the favourites to contest the promotion places this time around.
The Galwegians Pre-Match is now fully booked.
Bann scrum half Aaron Kennedy opened the scoring with a penalty after five minutes.
Ten minutes later the Bann pack were camped on the ‘Hinch line. The defence tried to clear but the kick was charged down and captain Adam Kelly dived on the ball to score the first try of the day.
Bann welcomed back captain Alastair McDowell from injury for the derby game with Ballynahinch. Jack Myles was moved to centre to add a bit of physicality to the midfield.
With new coaches Jonathan Brown and Philip Jordan in attendance for their first game since taking over the roles, Bann’s Under 17 side got off to a bad start at Ballynahinch, conceding five first half tries through a mix of poor tackling and organisation.
BANBRIDGE 29 ARMAGH 24
Banbridge repeated their Senior Cup success of the previous Saturday in last weekend’s Ulster Senior League game at Rifle Park, holding out against a late Armagh rally to pick up five points.
Skipper Richard Rainey kicked his side into an early lead when Bann went over the top at a ruck. It was to set a worrying pattern in the first half as the home side continually fell foul of the referee, conceding a dozen penalties in total. So despite picking up two tries, Bann’s lead at the break was a meagre three points as the boot of Rainey exacted a full price for the home side’s illegalities.
Bann U15s introduced four boys to their first ever game of rugby in this friendly against a well organised Portadown side which piled the pressure on Bann from the outset.
Twenty four points up in as many minutes, Ballynahinch looked to be cantering their way to a five-point win in last Wednesday’s Ulster Senior League game at Rifle Park.
But as Banbridge fought back, dominating much of the play for the remainder of the game, the visitors had to wait until the last play of the game to add to their tally with the bonus-point fourth try.
ARMAGH 20 BANBRIDGE 32
Banbridge negotiated their way safely through the first round of the Ulster Senior Challenge Cup, eventually overcoming the tricky challenge of a useful Armagh side at the City Grounds last Saturday.
Coach Daniel Soper was pleased, not just with the result, but also with the intensity his team showed in overturning a half-time deficit. “That was quite a physical game”, he commented afterwards. “Armagh really put it up to us and that’s great in terms of preparation for the All-Ireland League.”
BANN U-15s 37 MALONE U-15s 12
The U15s under the captaincy of Alistair McDowell took to the field eager to set down a marker early in front of the home support. Within 10 minutes Bann found themselves in the Malone ‘22’ after good work from the forwards. Quick ball from scrum-half Jamie Mullan to Charlie Jones playing at 10 saw Jones crash over for the opening score.
BANN SECONDS 42 CITY OF DERRY SECONDS 19
After successive league defeats at Malone and Instonians, Bann Seconds kick-started their season with what was ultimately a comprehensive Junior Cup win over City of Derry.
Having taken a 20-5 lead into the interval, Bann allowed Derry to claw their way back into contention at 27-19 with 15 minutes remaining, largely through their own indiscipline. But two late tries against the fading opposition left the winners with a margin that probably flattered them.
BANN U-17s 41 MALONE U-17s 31
Bann’s Under 17s got their season off to a winning start, winning this friendly against Malone with rather more ease than the score would suggest.
The visitors kicked off the scoring with a 5th minute unconverted try but Bann’s response was immediate, with centre Adam Reaney handing off three defenders on a 50 metre run to the try line. Out-half Alex Walker burst through the Malone defence on the “22”, converting his try for good measure.
Banbridge coach Daniel Soper is unlikely to be pressing the panic button just yet, but he will have been disappointed to have lost this second Ulster Senior League game of the new season.
Instonians play their All-Ireland rugby in Division 2B and so Bann might reasonably have expected to come out on top. Those pre-match expectations would have been reinforced by Shandon Scott’s 9th minute try, the out-half shimmying over the home line after a sustained assault in which flanker Ryan Patterson and scrum-half Aaron Kennedy played prominent roles.
On Saturday Banbridge Fifths entertained neighbours Portadown in the first game of the new season. It was a tight affair throughout and the opening half hour produced no points. Portadown produced some strong forward play and forced Bann to give away several penalties, however all were outside of their kicker’s range.
Banbridge RFC is throwing open the doors at their Open Evening on Wednesday 25th September and inviting all ladies and girls aged 16 and up to give rugby a try!
The Open Evening which kicks off at 7.30pm is a session of non-contact drills and games.
New players will receive great coaching that will bring you up to competitive game standard. You will learn everything you need to know.
If you are already a player and are moving to Banbridge then come along and introduce yourself - there are lots of positions up for grabs.
Click on the link to find out more.
Friday 27th September 2013 at Banbridge Golf Club
Tee off times available between 10am and 3pm
£120 per four ball including green fees and a meal
Sponsorship of greens, tees, longest drive and nearest the pin available for £50.00 (minimum donation).
All proceeds to Pitch fund.
To book times contact John Ewart mobile 07909978505 or Alan Harvey mobile 07768660532
A welcome addition of a defibrillator to BRFC's First Aid capability was recently unveiled. The defibrillator is wall mounted in the entrance hall of the clubhouse and is for emergency use for all who use the facilities of BRFC.
Banbridge suffered a narrow defeat in the opening game of their Ulster Senior League campaign, losing out to a Malone side that made the most of the scoring opportunities that came their way.
This was a game to keep the spectators engaged on a warm summer’s evening, with both sides showing a willingness to run the ball from deep positions.
The new mini rugby season has kicked off at Rifle Park but don't worry if you missed registration day as it will run for the next couple of Saturdays.
Mini rugby is for boys and girls from P2-P7 and there is a panel of qualified coaches ready to take each of the year groups, with a full programme of festivals and fixtures throughout the season. Coaching sessions run from 9.30-11.00am.
A Season Tickets will gain you entry into all home 1st XV matches.
Season Tickets cost £40 each offering a saving of up to £20 on entry into matches over the season.
Match entry costs £5 for All Ireland League fixtures and £3 for Ulster League fixtures.
Season Tickets are available by contacting John Ewart on 07909 978505.
A number of youth players have been selected for Ulster squads at various age groups. Andrew Jackson and Adam Cromwell were recently called up to the U18 squad; Matthew Blain, Alex Walker and Alistair McDowell for the U17s as well as Jack Myles, Aaron Duggan, Cormac Murray, Matthew Neil and Jack Dolaghan for the U16s.
Join Banbridge RFC in welcoming home their very own Lions Hero Rory Best, who will be joined by team mates Tommy Bowe and Sean O'Brien as they sit down to discuss their experience of that unforgettable, victorious tour to Australia in what promises to be an enthralling and entertaining evening.
Relive the highlights of the Lions' summer tour through the eyes of those at the heart of the action. Hear in their own word's about Tommy Bowe's miraculous recovery from injury, Sean O'Brien's battle for a test shirt, and Rory Best's rise to captain after missing out on initial selection.
Great prizes are on offer for the night include personalised signed photographs with the Lions, signed Lions jerseys and signed photographs of the three players in action.
Proceeds from the evening go towards Banbridge RFC's 'Pitch For All' Project and will include a donation to the IRFU Charitable Trust.
Buy your tickets here.
Training continues every Tuesday and Thursday on the pitch for 7pm! All new players are more than welcome to attend.
One of the clubs biggest fundraising ventures of the year happens this Saturday (13th) in Scarva.
Would anyone who is free and would like to volunteer in the car park by helping direct cars or work in the bar could you please contact Andy Duke (07803018454).
Your efforts will be rewarded in the clubhouse after with a free steak and a few drinks.
It is hoped most club members would help even if just for a few hours!
This year is the 125th Anniversary of the British & Irish Lions, and a group of ex British and Irish Lions and ex Australian Wallabies rugby union players are riding 1,000km over 6 days from Melbourne to Sydney between the 2nd and 3rd tests of the Lions Tour of Australia 2013.
TO:- FRIENDS OF BANBRIDGE RUGBY CLUB
BAR-B-Q & FINAL DRAW
The final draw for the 2012-13 season will be held in the Clubhouse on Friday 5th July. Food will be available for all ‘Friends’ from 7.30pm and the draw will take place at 9.30pm.
Saturday 24th August 2013 is a night on the Banbridge Social Calendar not to be missed.
The ‘Party for the Pitch' will take place in a marquee on club grounds where you will enjoy;
This Tuesday Clubman Rory Best will have the highest honour in world rugby, captaining the British and Irish Lions against the ACT Brumbies, in Australia.
All at Banbridge RFC would like to send out Best Wishes to Rory!
Saturday 29th of June sees the Clubs annual touch tournament.
The tournament will follow the previous years format with squads of 10 and a maximum of 7 on the pitch at any one time.
If all team entries could either text (07803018454) or email (email@example.com) Andy Duke with your interest as soon as possible.
The cost will be £3 per head which included food and all proceeds going to the 'Pitch for all Project'
This incoming season will see a number of players returning to Rifle Park following stints elsewhere.
Shandon Scott (Full Back), Chris Leathem (Centre/Wing) and Matthew Irvine (Wing Forward/No. 8) all return to Banbridge following two season spells at Malone.
Miles O'Hagan's return has been a little longer coming, returning to the club where he first played mini rugby before moving onto secondary school and into the senior ranks with Belfast Harlequins. Miles favoured position is full back.
Newcomers Philip Lunn and Andrew Hyde complete the signings at this stage of the season.
It was with great sadness that the club learnt of the passing of Laurence 'Spla' Bramall last Wednesday. Big Spla joined the club after school in 1978, and featured for every team from the 1st XV to the 5th XV. Whilst normally taking up a position in the Second Row, Spla wasn't averse to playing in the backs, and it is said that he always fancied himself as a bit of an outhalf. As he often remarked of himself 'he had a nice touch for a big man'. Larger than life on and off the pitch; great fun, a great member and everyone's friend, Spla will be greatly missed by all.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.....
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Book online at www.rugbytots.co.uk Facebook: Rugbytots Ni, Twitter: Rugbytotsni
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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'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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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'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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Banbridge's Andy Morrison scored twice in Ulster U20's comprehensive win over Midlands on Friday. Full report available here.
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.
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...
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.
The U17s recorded a 37-19 against St-Paul-Les-Dax in the first fixture of their French tour on Monday.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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'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
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.
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 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.
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.
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