BANN FOURTHS 19 BANGOR THIRDS 5
Bann Fourths hosted Bangor in what was only the fourth game of the young home side’s league campaign. Bangor kicked off and applied the early pressure, with the home team having to defend resolutely to prevent Bangor from troubling the scoreboard. For the first 20 minutes Bann couldn’t get out of their own third or maintain any possession. Sensing they could cross the whitewash, Bangor spurned three kickable penalties to continue pounding the Bann defensive live.
So as to give some guys an early breather from the seemingly incessant pressure and to freshen things up, the Bann management emptied the bench, making personnel and positional changes. It appeared to breathe life into the team and with their first entry into the opposition “22”, through successive strong pick and goes from the pack, Nathan Martin, one of the team’s most consistent performers, drove over for a well-deserved unconverted try.
This gave the home team much needed confidence and with a few more changes prior to half-time the team looked very impressive. The backs’ defensive effort was immense, with Chris Beacom in particular orchestrating a well marshalled line, with big hits coming in from all of them. Wingers Jake Beattie and Connor Woods and full-back Grant Murphy, who was returning from a nasty leg break, chased kicks and put their opposition under pressure. The lineout, which has been superb all season, was excellent with several options, including the reliable Martin and the athletic Robin Hewitt, providing secure ball from both their own and the opposition lineouts.
From the controlled possession and a new-found patience in attack, Captain Sam Boyd burst through several tacklers and went round behind the posts to touch down, leaving the conversion a formality for Jordan Mullan, who is steadily growing into his new out-half position.
The half-time break gave management the opportunity for further rotation to freshen up the team, along with words of encouragement to keep going.
The second half proved to be the best half of rugby played by the Bann team this season. There were several strong breaks from both forwards and backs and Alex Shannon was proving to be a real thorn in the opposition backline with some scything runs. With this pressure Bann were eventually rewarded with their third try, with Beacom crossing and Mullan adding the extras.
Soon after Sam Boyd went over for his second of the game but an unsighted referee was not in a position to award it. This took the momentum away from Bann and they failed to register any further scores.
Much to their disappointment they failed to keep Bangor shut out and the North Down side was awarded a try that offered scant consolation to the losers.
Team Coach Andy Fulton said that he was delighted, not just with the win, but also of the manner in which it was achieved. “We would have settled for the win at the start of the day, but in the end I was a bit disappointed not to get the four try bonus,” he said. “It was a fantastic match and the players revelled in the physicality and enjoyed themselves with several sore bodies after.
“The team has really bought into the club ethos of a ‘club for all’, having played over 40 players with a mix of fresh new talent adding to the club’s longer standing regular players and players who have to juggle their work and family life to get time for rugby.
“They all are enjoying rugby and have repaid the faith and loyalty shown by management in sticking with them. With no match for several weeks hopefully we can use this time to get out at training and improve on things, like pods and exiting our own “22”. It is no coincidence that the first strong showing at training has been followed up with our best performance.”