BANBRIDGE men’s first XI returned to Coolnafranky unbeaten in the league but just three weeks prior were dumped out the Kirk Cup by a strong Cookstown side.
Bann were without Hugh Mcshane and Stephen Forbes for the game, adding to an already lengthy injury list.
They started the first half with a better intensity than seen in previous games and dominated possession throughout. Banbridge applied plenty of pressure on both Cookstown fullbacks and after several missed opportunities plus plenty of circle entries Bann opened the scoring through a ripped drag flick from Stephen Dowds to put Bann one up.
The rest of the half was played at a high intensity with both sides creating chances, Bann continued their slick passing style and closed the half off, leading 1-0.
Cookstown came out of the blocks very quick in the second half and piled the pressure on the Banbridge defence. Goalkeeper Lennox was called into action several times, making some superb saves to keep his former club at bay, coupled with some excellent defending from Drew Carlisle.
Bann continued to be lethargic but after some slick passing from Colin Dowds and Bruce who threaded the ball into Dane Ward, who was cynically taken out by the Cookstown keeper and awarded a penalty stroke. Bruce stepped up and put the ball high into the fence, missing the target.
This gave Cookstown hope and after several short corners and more saves from Lennox, they got the break through from a stunning upright reverse from Gregg Allen.
Banbridge responded however, and after some great work by Simon Magowan along the baseline he fed Josh Moffett who finished neatly in the bottom corner.
The final 10 minutes saw the game open up, Banbridge took advantage and after a strong run from Bruce he found a foot in the circle. Stephen Dowds stepped up again converting his second drag flick of the day into the side netting.
Cookstown pressed in the closing stages but failed to break down the Banbridge defence and the game finished Banbridge 3 Cookstown 1.