BANN Seconds made it two wins from two in the Conference Three League with a hard-fought win at Rainey last Saturday.
Although Bann deserved their success, such was the ebb and flow of the game that the result might have gone either way. After the home kicker had been off-target with an early penalty opportunity, Bann out-half Adam Doherty made no mistake when presented with a shot at the posts in the 12th minute.
Centre James Andrews was testing the midfield defence and his strong run created quick ruck ball to allow Geoff Thompson to burst through a Rainey tackle and make the try line in the 23rd minute.
But Rainey reduced the deficit with a penalty and just before the interval a careless tap down at a lineout was gathered by a home player who ran the 18 metres to the line unopposed, with the conversion leaving Bann two points in arrears at the break.
With Bann conceding too many penalties at the breakdown, Rainey were able to build up a head of steam at the start of the second half, retaining the ball through several phases before crossing the line from close range for a 15-8 lead.
Play was delayed for a period while the referee recovered after taking an accidental direct hit to the face from a fly-hack as Rainey defended their line. When play resumed Bann won possession from a lineout and John Porter came off his blindside wing to slice through the Rainey midfield before rounding the full-back to touch down at the posts. Doherty’s conversion tied the scores.
Bann were now edging the exchanges and after they had encamped once more close to the home line, thanks to another fine run from Porter, scrum-half Jeff Dodds darted over from a ruck for a try which Doherty converted with an excellent kick.
Bann might have paid the penalty for failing to contain Rainey in their own territory. Mis-kicks and penalties allowed the home side to take up good field position but the Bann defence was solid. And when play moved back downfield Doherty was just off-target with a penalty opportunity.
But the young No 10 sealed the win with the last move of the game, re-gathering his own chip ahead to race in for a try before adding the conversion.
Bann should have won this game more comfortably than they did and against better teams they will pay the price if they continue to flout the laws, especially at the ruck situation.
Prop Stuart Cromie worked hard throughout and Jamie McDonald had a solid game at No 8. Geoff Thompson put in some ferocious tackles in the midfield and John Porter always looked dangerous when in possession.
The Seconds will be hoping to maintain their good Conference League form when they travel to Ards this weekend.