Match Centre -
December 7, 2019 - 2:30 pm
Conference League 2
Banbridge RFCBanbridge RFC 2nds XV
SECONDS 57 COLERAINE 5
Player unavailability forced Coleraine to travel with an understrength side for this Conference League game. And they paid the price in no uncertain terms, shipping nine tries against a Bann Seconds team that is steadily building up a head of steam.
The home side was also depleted, having lost five regulars who had moved up to fill breaches caused by injuries within the Firsts AIL squad. But Bann still had enough firepower to see off the opposition with a display which reflected the benefits of the integration of squad training at Rifle Park.
Playing into the wind, Bann turned over a Coleraine scrum on the opposition “22”, and a clever pick up from John Wilson ended up with him running in an unopposed try, with Aaron Kennedy adding the conversion.
Tidy phases combined with clever kicks from scrum-half Ian Porter resulted in Charlie Jones collecting a great ball and charging over for his side’s second try.
After Jack Myles and Keir Patterson had made scything runs through the Coleraine defence, out-half Ben Thompson’s 40 metre solo run and off-load to Patterson saw the latter finish off under the posts, with Kennedy adding the extras.
The bonus point try followed swiftly after Alex Megaw had turned over ruck ball, with the back line leaving Kennedy to out-smart two defenders en-route to the try line before slotting over the conversion for a 26-0 interval lead.
Bann tightened the screw after the re-start, with No 8 Matthew Shirlow leading the charge before Patterson, Porter and Jones handled to put Alex Shannon in for the fifth try.
There was a brief respite for Coleraine as they took advantage of a couple of penalties for off-side to cross for their only score of the game.
But normal service was quickly resumed as the home side’s solid scrum gave Shirlow the chance to pick up and barge over for a try which Kennedy bettered.
Jones intercepted, linked with Shannon and flanker Jonny Murray’s surge set up ruck ball from which Porter put Myles in for the seventh try and a 43-5 lead.
Robbie Mathers caught the re-start and set Bann up in the Coleraine “22” with a surging run, leaving the back line to display their quality handling skills and leave Patterson to finish off at the corner flag, Kennedy capping it with a fine conversion.
And for the second time this season Patterson notched a hat-trick of touchdowns after Porter’s decisive break through the Coleraine lines, with Kennedy ‘s conversion bringing a premature halt to proceedings.
Team Manager John Woods said that while he understood that Coleraine were below full strength, Bann had still put in an impressive performance. “You can only play what’s in front of you,” he said after the game. “We controlled the set scrums all afternoon. Props Robbie Mathers, Christian Trimble and Ross Haughey rotated the workload throughout the game to great effect. And when Scott Cromie came on in what was for him the unfamiliar position of flanker I thought he did really well. Alex Megaw made sure Coleraine had to work really hard to win their lineouts.
“I thought the handling of the backs was particularly good today, and to be honest there were no bad performances out there. But my man-of-the-match was Mattie Shirlow. He just seemed to be everywhere, carrying strongly and defending tigerishly to snuff out any threatening Coleraine moves.”