BANBRIDGE SECONDS 12 PORTADOWN 26
A powerful scrummaging display from the Portadown pack paved the way for a comfortable win and a place in the second round of the Towns’ Cup.
Chris Cousins’ 7th minute penalty opened the visitors’ account but Bann hit back to spend time in the opposition “22”, eventually winning a penalty which Robin Thompson kicked to the corner to set up a scoring opportunity from a five metre lineout. The defence held firm and at the scrum that ensued Bann were penalised, a foretaste of what was to follow.
A second penalty opportunity gave Thompson a shot at goal but his effort sailed over an upright and Portadown launched at attack off the “22” drop-out. Their back row was well up in support of a threequarter move and Diarmuid O’Kane’s strong run took play into the home “22” where his pass put fellow-flanker Gary Hall in for the opening try, with Cousins striking over the conversion.
At 0-10 down Bann were still looking competitive but two penalty tries in a ten minute spell left the home side facing a 24 point deficit from which there was no way back. Both came as a result of that strong Portadown set piece with Bann unable to legally resist the shove put on at the five metre scrum, leaving Cousins the easy task of slotting over the conversions.
Left winger Jack Orr scampered in for his side’s fourth try at the start of the second half before Bann were able to pick up their first points, courtesy of Thomas Carlisle, as the replacement prop added the finishing touch to a five metre lineout and drive.
A loose kick was fielded by Orr just outside the home “22” and he doubled his try tally as he scorched in to touch down in the corner for a 5-36 lead.
The loss of a second Bann prop to injury resulted in uncontested scrums for the closing stages of the game and No 8 Andy Brown was able to force his way over from a set piece five metres out for a try which Thompson bettered. It gave the scoreline some respectability for a home side which battled hard throughout but was too often on the back foot because of the visitors’ dominance at scrum time.