DONAGHADEE 11 BANN SECONDS 13
Bann Seconds finally picked up a win in the Conference League, thanks to this narrow success over struggling Donaghadee.
With 16 players from the Firsts and Seconds squads unavailable for selection, it was a patched-up Seconds team that travelled to North Down. But in the end they had just enough firepower to see off the home side in a game that will not live long in the memory of those who played or watched.
Bann started brightly with a series of good phases and when ‘Dee were caught off-side Aaron Kennedy stroked over the penalty for a 0-3 lead.
As the visitors continued to have the better of the exchanges Colin Bickerstaff broke through the home ranks to feed Kennedy and the scrum-half found Paul Ross with the scoring pass, with Kennedy converting.
The ‘Dee got off the mark from the re-start with Bann’s failure to clear their lines presenting the opposition with a simple penalty chance. And before the break the deficit had been reduced to four points after a turnover had put Bann under pressure and forced to concede another penalty.
Six minutes into the second half the home side executed a back row move off a scrum in front of the Bann posts to cross for a try that went unconverted, as did a simple penalty opportunity eight minutes later.
That was to prove crucial as in the 65th minute Kennedy slotted over his third penalty which ultimately proved the match-winner, although the game had a bizarre ending when the home scrum half kicked out from a lineout on halfway in the 80th minute in the mistaken belief that his team was ahead!
Bann Coach Gareth Bronte admitted that his side had not played particularly well. “It wasn’t a great performance by any means,” he said after the game. “But with so many players unavailable and a couple of guys being drafted in at the last minute it was pleasing that the lads dug deep to get the win. We’ll certainly need to improve with Armagh Seconds visiting Rifle Park next Saturday.”