BELFAST HARLEQUINS 7 BANBRIDGE 22
Banbridge travelled last Thursday evening to take on Belfast Harlequins in a SONI Ulster Championship League game and came away with their third win in as many outings in the competition. Despite not picking up a bonus point, Bann are now five points clear of Dungannon, their nearest challengers for the Section Two title. And with only one game left to play for both sides, the Rifle Park side look to be in a virtually unassailable position.
There has been a sharp contrast in the fortunes of Bann and ‘Quins in the All-Ireland League, with the city side facing relegation from Division 1B and Bann favourites to take their place given their current position at the top of 2A.
That was reflected in the displays of the teams in this UCL game, with Bann looking comfortable on the ball throughout and ‘Quins putting on a patchy display with their threequarters lacking fluency in attack.
Adam Doherty’s penalty midway through the first half opened the scoring before ‘Quins’ centre Jack Newman produced a fine individual break that took him in for a try which Adam White converted for a 7-3 lead.
But when the home side knocked on at the re-start Bann attacked from the set piece to take play close to the home line where they won a penalty. That was tapped and recycled and when the ball was moved wide Shandon Scott went through a gap for Bann’s opening try, with Doherty on target off the tee to give his side a 7-10 interval lead.
Out-half Scott made great use of the wind in the second half, time and again pinning ‘Quins back in their “22” with a series of astute kicks. Centre Andrew Morrison’s lovely outside break saw him pick up Bann’s second try before he retired from the action with an ankle injury. Doherty again added the extras.
Lee Steenson’s work at the base of a ‘Quins scrum saw the ball break loose outside the home”22”. The Bann pivot hacked through and won the race to retrieve possession before feeding Peter Cromie with the scoring pass to round off a satisfactory evening for the visitors.
Bann team:- Adam Doherty, John Porter, Andrew Morrison, Jonny Little, Clarke McAllister, Shandon Scott, Lee Steenson, Thomas Carlisle, Fraser Mulholland, James McCrum, Chris Allen, Mike Bentley, Ryan Patterson, Dale Carson, Stephen Irvine. Replacements:- Peter Cromie, Calum Boardman, Matthew Bell, Ben Cross.