Delight for David as teen nets first ever hat-trick

David Gray is congratulated by his proud mother Grace after netting a hat-trick on Saturday. David's parents Grace and Irwin are regulars at Town's matches to support their son and his team-mates.
David Gray is congratulated by his proud mother Grace after netting a hat-trick on Saturday. David's parents Grace and Irwin are regulars at Town's matches to support their son and his team-mates.

David Gray picked a good time to net his first ever hat-trick.

His Banbridge Town side had been in sorry form, without a win in seven league games and much in need of three points.

Ryan Gourley in action during Saturday's victory. INBL1515-2EB

Ryan Gourley in action during Saturday's victory. INBL1515-2EB

Up stepped the 18 year-old to deliver his first ever competitive three-goal haul at any level and secure a victory - not bad for a winger who says he “never scores!”

“It was just something else,” he told the LEADER after the game.

“I couldn’t believe it all to be honest. It happened so quickly and I was just over the moon. I don’t know what was even going through my head during the game. It was weird because I never score.

“I’ve never got a hat-trick in my life, at any level of football so it was a bit of a shocker to come away with three goals on Saturday.”

Gray’s goals were a big lift for his ailing side after their poor run of form.

“It all fell nicely for me. I didn’t really have to do much for any of the goals,” he went on, modestly shifting all the thanks to his team-mates.

Gray is one of a number of teenage stars who has stepped up into Championship Two football at Town and he was keen to thank boss Ryan Watson for giving him the chance that he has seized with both hands.

“Ryan has been very supportive of me,” he said. “He always tells me to go out and enjoy my football and he’s been absolutely brillant with all the rest of the young lads coming through from the reserves as well. He’s very good to play for and I’m sure all the other guys in the team would say the same.”

Watson will have been more delighted than anyone with Saturday’s victory over Glebe - some much needed relief that Gray and his team-mates were only too happy to deliver.

“We all played well as a team,” said the Waringstown lad. “I think that’s what meant the world to the manager because we all owed him one after the results we’ve got over the last few weeks. It was a great time for it to happen and nice to be the one to get the goals.”

Watson has had to watch some drab displays of late, not least than 8-0 defeat in Tobermore last month.

“That was a big knock to our confidence,” said Gray. “Getting the point last week and coming through with the win on Saturday are both steps in the right direction.

“I don’t really know what we were doing differently. We knew what we had to do on Saturday and we knew it was about time we delivered. Not only did we owe it to Ryan but we owed it to ourselves to get a win, eventually.”

Just as delighted as David on Saturday were his parents Irwin and Grace, who he says he has much to thank for.

“I don’t think they’ve ever missed a match,” he said. “I think I’ve missed more of our games than my dad has. Both of my parents are so supportive and are always there for me.”

Gray first broke into the first team at the tail end of last season and is now a key cog in the Town machine that he wants to help fire up the league table.

“I’ve played for Banbridge Town since U13 level and just kept pushing on to see how far I could get,” he says.

“In the first team, everybody was so welcoming and all of us are so together. They’re all a great bunch of lads. That’s the talk before our games, that we’re all a group of mates playing football. We all play for each other - we’re not just a team of individuals.

“We really need to try and get as many points on board in these few games we have left this season and push on up the table. I definitely want to get a lot further up the league in the future. All the lads will be determined to do that and we’ll all be working together to try and make it happen.”

And now that he’s become a goal-scoring extraordinaire, the winger is more excited than ever to get back on the pitch:

“I’m looking forward to every game coming up now. Hopefully I can get a few more goals!”