Newry U13s 5
Banbridge U13s 38
WITH several regular players missing the Leader-sponsored Bann Under-13 squad travelled to Newry with five debutants.
Up stepped Ross Cartmill, Jordan Mount and John Buller from the U-12s.
Sam Baxter and John Bebbington were also late additions to the depleted squad.
Newry started the game and Bann received the kick off. The Bann pack took the game deep into the Newry half and quick release from Max Buller to Ross Cartmill saw an inside pass to Jamie Mullan only to be knocked on over the line. The resulting scrum saw Bann take it against the head with Matthew Blain hooking. No 8 William Cousins picked up from the base of the scrum, caught the defence in disarray and ran in to score. Ben Thompson converted.
Newry kicked off again and John Buller took on the opposition defence. He ran 50 metres and after some desperate defending was stopped just short of the line. Newry re-grouped and found touch.
From a binding issue at a scrum a penalty was awarded to Newry. The home side tapped it quickly and Bann with their backs turned let Newry’s big centre run half the length of the pitch to score in the corner.
Toby Baxter regained Thompson’s drop kick and made good ground with Samuel Mount driving him on. Buller released Dubem Ajeh on the blind and the powerful centre crashed his way through several tacklers to score under the posts. Thompson’s second conversion gave his side a 5-14 interval lead.
Bann went into the second half knowing they could win this by using their powerful and mobile forwards to make the hard yards and then release their dangerous backs to score. They stuck to their game plan and this was a one-sided half. Some great Bann rucking saw Thompson release Ajeh and again the centre powered his way to score in the corner.
Angus Corbett, Sheldon Savage and Matthew Blain were making great ground through the middle and each time the ball was released to the backs there was an overlap. This time Cartmill received the ball in the centre and drew in his man to allow Ajeh to run in for his hat trick of tries.
The very mobile back row of Cousins, Corbett and Baxter were making it difficult for Newry to get any time on the ball. This was evident when Cousins tackled the fly half and quickly wrestled the ball off him before outstripping the defence to score under the posts.
With the last play of the game Jordan Mount side-stepped his way into the Newry half and some slick passing between forwards and backs saw man of the match Ajeh have the final word when he once again scored under the posts.
This was a great controlled performance from Bann expertly led by Ben Thompson and Toby Baxter. With five players experiencing their first game of 15-man rugby in a Bann shirt no one was out of place. The back row was hard working all day and the centre pairing was also very impressive. Wing John Buller could have been in for a brace only for some desperate defending.
Ajeh gets the man of the match award for his ferocious tackling against a much bigger opponent and his powerful and clinical finishing resulting in a personal tally of four tries.
Training continues on Wednesday night from 7 to 8.30pm. Extra training at Banbridge Boxing Club on Monday from 7.30 to 8.30.
Team. Jordan Cairns, Sam Baxter, Ross Cartmill, Dubem Ajeh, Ben Thompson (C), Max Buller, William Cousins, Toby Baxter, Jamie Mullan, Angus Corbett, Samuel Mount, Alexander Cousins, Matthew Blain, Sheldon Savage, John Bebbington, Jordan Mount.