BANN SECONDS 26 LISBURN 0
Bann Seconds secured their place in the draw for the quarter-finals of the River Rock Towns’ Cup with a comprehensive home win over local rivals Lisburn.
Three first half tries had the hosts well in control of the game at the break and although the tries largely dried up after the interval, there was never any suggestion that Lisburn were going to retrieve the situation.
Club Coach Mark McDowell was pleased to see the club’s second string make further progress in the competition. “The Towns’ Cup is something that the squad wants to do well in this season so it’s excellent to see the lads move on to the quarters,” he said after the game. “A four-try win over Lisburn is a great result and I saw some good rugby out there today with lots of pleasing aspects.”
Bann opened the scoring in the 10th minute after Stephen Irvine had put in a typical powerhouse run to set up an attacking platform. The ball was moved left where winger Charlie Jones dismissed an attempted last ditch tackle to effect the touchdown, with Aaron Kennedy striking over a well-judged conversion in windy conditions.
Out-half Ben Thompson was the architect of Bann’s second score on 24 minutes. His eye for a gap took him behind the front line defence and prop Robbie Mathers was up in support to take the off-load before drawing the Lisburn full-back to put centre Joe Finnegan in under the posts. Kennedy’s conversion was a formality.
Bann’s third try, two minutes before the break, was a multi-phase effort involving most of the team and again finished off in the corner by Jones, with Kennedy proving that his first touchline conversion was no one-off.
Ten minutes into the second half Bann picked up their fourth try. A maul off a Bann lineout close to the Lisburn line disintegrated, but when Lisburn moved the ball from the resultant scrum the defensive line speed saw the ball turned over, leaving No 8 Reuben McCreery to pick up, crash through attempted tackles and touch down.
That concluded the scoring, although Bann should have added to their tally given the quantity and quality of possession they continued to enjoy. But wayward passing and a failure to execute accurately let them down too often as play overall deteriorated over the final quarter of the game.
“We created enough opportunities to put more points on the board,” admitted McDowell. “But we didn’t work hard enough to finish off. However it was really pleasing to see some aspects of defence. We had to work hard towards the end of the first half to keep Lisburn out – to keep a team to nil is always a great achievement.
“There were plenty of good performances all over the park. I thought Alex Megaw stood out in terms of getting through a lot of the work that can sometimes go unseen. James Cromie and Stephen Irvine were at the forefront as well. And in the backs Aaron Kennedy and Macauley Little came to the fore quite a bit. Charlie Jones has been training hard and it was good to see him get his two tries.
“The boys know that there’s a lot more to come from this side – they’re a very young squad with hopefully a number that are future First XV players. We should be aiming to do well in the Towns’ Cup every year and hopefully win it, if not this year, then in the next season or two. But that’s us into the last eight so we’ll see what the draw throws up.”