Allen and Porter earn Bann third win

TWO tries from lock Chris Allen and the boot of scrum-half Ian Porter earned Banbridge their third win from six Ulster Senior League outings this season.

The sound of the studs as the teams ran onto the Stevenson Park pitch gave audible evidence of its frosty condition.

That may well have had a bearing on the slackness in both defences throughout, with players slipping out of half-hearted tackles all too easily.

Allen has had little rugby this season, thanks to an injury which sidelined him for several weeks, followed by a two weeks suspension resulting from an undeserved red card.

But he certainly showed no sign of rust as, in the second minute, he collected a pass from a ruck 25 metres out and with a mixture of hand-offs and dummies made his way to the posts to touch down, leaving Ian Porter to add the conversion.

Bann were looking much the better team in the early exchanges. But when the referee awarded a free against them on the halfway line Dungannon winger Peter Cashel’s quick tap gave him an unimpeded run to the posts, Jake Finlay adding the extras to tie the sides with 6 minutes played.

Porter’s penalty kick from the “22” edged Bann in front again, but he was unable to repeat the feat from 35 metres range. When John Porter chased his brother’s kick from deep inside Bann’s “22”, a kindly bounce allowed him to collect and set off at full speed for the home line. He was eventually hauled down just five metres short and Dungannon were able to clear from the resulting scrum.

Finlay had a chance to level the scores on the stroke of half-time but his kick drifted wide of the mark.

A late tackle on Ashley Finlay gave Bann a penalty in front of the Dungannon posts six minutes after the re-start. But with the home defence in a state of disarray, Allen took the pass from the quick penalty and burst through for his second touchdown, with Porter’s conversion splitting the uprights.

A strong run from centre James Andrews earned Bann a penalty for a deliberate knock-on and Porter converted the straightforward kick to extend the lead.

Dungannon pulled back five points on the hour, flanker James McMahon rounding off after an attacking scrum on Bann’s “22”.

With the stronger runners taking advantage of the sometimes ineffectual tackling, only the cold conditions contributing to a catalogue of handling errors on both sides prevented further tries being added. Dungannon had a chance to put themselves within striking distance but were off-target with a 74th minute penalty and Bann held out to record a win which on balance they just about deserved.