Bann Seconds conceded 15 points in the opening 17 minutes of this Second XV League encounter at Rifle Park as visitors Rainey took advantage of some sloppy defensive work to cross for two tries, one converted and a penalty.
The home side gradually developed some cohesion in their attacking play and following a scrum close to the visitors’ line, they recycled through three phases before prop Thomas Carlisle broke through the Rainey lines for an unconverted try in the 28th minute.
Bann maintained the pressure to the interval but without making further inroads into the 10 point deficit.
Five minutes after the break, Bann were reduced to 14 men when the referee produced his red card for dangerous play. From the resultant penalty close to Bann’s line, Rainey were able to force their way over for a third touchdown and a 5-20 lead.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Bann held the upper hand for much of the remainder of the game as the home forwards started to gel as a unit.
Number Eight Paul Ross crossed for his team’s second try on 56 minutes with Shandon Scott adding the difficult conversion. And when skipper Ross repeated the trick 10 minutes later and Scott again split the posts off the tee, the initiative was well and truly with the home side.
A rare second half incursion into home territory would have produced a fourth try for Rainey had Bann wing Packie Downey not put in a solid tackle five metres out.
Bann resumed on the attack but there was to be no further breakthrough as Rainey saw out the time clinging tenaciously to their single point advantage.
The Banbridge First XV’s scheduled Senior Cup match against Ballymena was postponed due to the passing of esteemed Banbridge RFC member George Chambers, who was an active member for over 40 years as a player, then Honorary Fixtures Secretary and for many years bagman to the First XV.
The Club’s sympathies are extended to his wife Jean, sons Richard, Michael and Stephen and daughter Carolyn, a family with deep roots in the club.