Good defence is key to victory over neighbours

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On Saturday Banbridge Fifths entertained neighbours Portadown in the first game of the new season.

It was a tight affair throughout and the opening half hour produced no points.

Portadown produced some strong forward play and forced Bann to give away several penalties, however all were outside of their kicker’s range.

Bann started to raise their performance levels and some good runs from Barney McKevitt and Brian O’Shaughnessy took play into the opposition “22”. The ball was moved quickly through the backline to John Woods who sprinted clear to score out wide. Stephen Jackson added the difficult conversion.

Bann were now in the ascendancy, forcing the visitors into conceding several penalties and allowing the Bann forwards to drive deep into opposition territory. Several rucks later and Jackson fed a rampaging Paul Cairns who hit the line at pace and went in to score. Again Jackson added the extras. Portadown responded with a try of their own before Jackson added a penalty.

The Chambers Park side started the second half on the attack, picking up another try before Jackson nudged his side further ahead with a second penalty.

But for strong defence by Jerry Ramsey, Chris Nelmes and Jackson Portadown could well have added to their score. Even when the visitors went wide superb tackling by Chris Berry prevented two certain tries. Portadown’s out-half did add a drop goal but Bann’s good defence remained one of the high points of their game, allowing them to retain their five point advantage in the time remaining.