BANBRIDGE 50 DUNGANNON 5
Banbridge rounded off 2015 in style, running in eight tries against Dungannon to take the Stevenson Park side’s place at the top of the Ulster Senior League Section 2.
Coach Daniel Soper called it the perfect end to 2015. “We scored some cracking tries and everyone stayed fit,” he said after the game. “It was a good run-out and it was good to see the backs running in wide spaces with the ball.”
Soper had rested some of his front-line players, allowing Ethan Harbinson to take the No 7 shirt on his return from Durham University for the Christmas holiday. Under-18 player Robin Sinton played his first senior game on the other side of the back row and both the youngsters were involved in the first try. Sinton carried well before Clark McAllister made good ground down the left flank. After Dungannon had been forced to carry over their own line, Bann won the scrum and three phases later Harbinson forced his way over the line for Shandon Scott to add the conversion.
By the interval the home side was 31 points ahead with a brace of tries each from full-back Adam Ervine and winger John Porter, with Scott adding two more conversions. Harbinson made the break off a ruck on halfway before putting Ervine clear for his first down the left flank.
Then Porter set off on a run from halfway and using the supporting Harbinson as a decoy he cut between two defenders to score under the posts. Then Fraser Mulholland and Chris Allen carried well before Porter finished off another Bann attack from deep.
Ervine rounded off the first half scoring when he scorched home from halfway through a straggle of Dungannon players who had no answer to his pace and balance.
Seven minutes into the second half Mike Bentley had an easy run in from 30 metres after fielding a mis-throw to a Dungannon lineout. Scott’s conversion attempt went wide but the out-half added the extras to Harbinson’s second try, with the flanker taking advantage of Andrew Morrison’s break and Porter’s feed to run in from the “22”.
Dungannon rallied briefly and Darren Simpson was first to a grubber kick to claim their only points 56 minutes into the game.
But Bann finished the stronger and Andrew Morrison won the race to Scott’s tidy grubber in behind the visitors’ defence to claim the final try, with Scott rounding it up to the half century off the tee.
Soper was particularly pleased with the way his two youngest players had performed. “It’s good that we can use games like this to give guys an opportunity. We can bring our own players up through and give them a chance on the Ones.
“Ethan was very much involved and deserved his two tries for his tremendous support play. Robin physically didn’t look out of place, putting in a number of big tackles. I thought the two of them did really well.
“We’ll give the players a break now and come back and train pretty hard in preparation for the Cashel game (on 9th January). By then the minor knocks should all have cleared up and we should have a full squad to pick from.”
Bann team:- Adam Ervine, John Porter, Andrew Morrison, Jonny Little, Clark McAllister, Shandon Scott, Lee Steenson, Stuart Cromie, Fraser Mulholland, Colin Bickerstaff, Chris Allen, Kallan Martin, Robin Sinton, Ethan Harbinson, Stephen Irvine. Replacements:- Peter Cromie, James McCrum, Mike Bentley, Josh Cromie, Ben Cross.