AFTER leaking four tries to Ards the previous week Bann were under strict instructions to go out and enjoy themselves in the sunshine at Rifle Park. Portadown travelled with a big reputation after putting 35 points on Ards.
Possession in the first 15 minutes was pretty even with handling errors from both sides breaking the play up. Welcoming Josh Cromie back at scrum-half Bann were positive in their decision making. With his cousin Cameron at No 10 the two playmakers were set to control this game.
From a scrum deep in the Portadown half Josh Cromie fed Cameron and slick passing saw Alex Megaw and then Jason Jardine handle. The latter drew his man and fed William Wilson who fended of two tacklers to score right in the corner. Cameron obliged with the touchline conversion.
The boys knew they had to stay focused but a lapse in concentration almost let the Portadown centre in for an intercept try only for the ball to slip out of his hands. A switch move between skipper Alex Megaw and Cameron opened up the Portadown defence and with Jardine in support the centre was able to power his way over the line and score between the posts, with Cameron’s conversion giving Bann a 14-0 interval lead.
The introduction of Jake Dennison in the second half tightened up the scrum and the forwards were able to provide a great platform for fast running rugby. They were securing their own ball and feeding it back quickly and keeping it tidy at the same time. With “rucking machine” Ross Haughey working tirelessly, turning over and counter-rucking to great effect, ably supported by Jake Chambers and Matthew Taylor, the Portadown pack were not getting any time to set up quality possession for their backline.
A great carry from Jack Flanagan set up the next score. Quick ruck ball found Cameron who was making all the right decisions. He hit Jardine who once again powered his way over the line leaving a trail of Portadown tacklers behind.
Portadown kept playing and trying to run and get the score that would trigger a fight-back but the Bann defence weren’t giving anything away, with Adam Cromwell and Matthew Blain tackling all around them. The final say came from Bann when Josh Cromie made a break up the middle and set the ruck up deep in the Portadown half. Once again quick ball found Megaw who made another 10 metres. When the ball was moved blindside the explosive power of Wayne McCurry proved unstoppable.