LURGAN 19 BANN SECONDS 27
Bann Seconds recorded their fourth win in the Conference League, eventually overcoming a Lurgan side that was in the game right to the end.
Macauley Little’s 10thminute penalty edged the visitors in front. But despite spending long periods in the Lurgan half, Bann had to wait until the half hour to add to their tally, when two long passes put Adam Buller clear down the left wing, his touchdown under the posts making Little’s conversion a formality.
The Lurgan threequarters’ handling was letting them down, but individually they posed a threat and but for a couple of timely tackles from Bann No 8 Dale Carson they would have reduced the leeway. In the closing minutes of the half it took what the referee deemed was a dangerous tackle from Ben Cross to prevent a certain score. The Bann centre was despatched to the ‘sin bin’ and a beautifully weighted crossfield kick was fielded and touched down by the home winger for a 5-10 interval scoreline.
Six minutes into the second half John Porter collected a mis-directed pass to glide in under the Lurgan posts, Little adding the extras to open up a twelve point lead.
Lurgan came back with renewed vigour and it took a Little intercept to relieve the pressure. The out-half was eventually brought down inside the opposition 10-metre line, but when Lurgan were penalised at the breakdown he struck over a fine kick to take the score to 5-20.
That seemed to seal the home side’s fate – but they had other ideas. Intense pressure on the Bann line saw replacement flanker John Wilson pick up a yellow card. If the penalty was somewhat harsh Lurgan were unconcerned as they proceeded to capitalise, showing improved handling in the threequarters to run in two converted tries against their numerically disadvantaged opponents whose diminished defence crumbled all too easily.
The two added conversions left a single point separating the sides with Lurgan just failing to edge ahead when a penalty shot drifted wide.
Bann were clinging on now, but victory was sealed with the last move of the game, when Bann scrum-half Chris Patterson set off on a blistering run through the ranks of the Lurgan side, weaving and pirouetting his way on a 45 metre run to the posts. Little’s conversion signalled the end of the action.
With the two sides scheduled to meet at the beginning of January in the first round of the Towns’ Cup this was an important win for Coach Colin Bickerstaff’s side. But he will know that if his charges do not get over their defensive fragility then a Cup upset could be on the cards.