Bann Fifths 10
Malone Fifths 17
BANN Fifths entertained Malone Fifths in the quarter-finals of the Butler Shield and the visitors started the stronger with their inside-centre breaking two Bann tackles before scoring under the posts within five minutes of the kick-off. The extra points for the conversion were added.
Following the re-start the Bann pack started to move the Malone pack about and were gaining valuable ground through a series of quick rucks.
One such ruck set the backline moving and Jerry Ramsey fed Russell Anderson who broke the gain line and into the Malone 22. A further ruck saw Malone slow the Bann ball down and Bann were awarded the penalty in front of the posts. Jake Fisher duly converted the kick.
Bann pressure and quality rucking saw a further three kickable penalties awarded in the first half but unfortunately none of the kicks was successful. The third kick struck the upright and with Robert Buller following up he secured possession.
After the ball was taken forward through Chris Nelmes his wide pass found number eight Lyle Cairns, who was only metres short of the try line when bundled into touch.
The start of the second half saw each team swap penalties bringing the score to 10–6.
A maul situation around the half way line saw prop Darren McAlinden rip ball from the opposition and break away. Thirty metres closer to the Malone line the big prop was finally tackled but Bann continued to pressurise the Malone goal line. Mark Ferguson was hauled down only inches from the line before Malone cleared their lines to relieve the pressure.
With 10 minutes left on the clock Bann had a series of scrums five metres from the Malone line. The Bann back row moved the ball and again Malone were forced to slow the ball down, a penalty was awarded and the yellow card shown, reducing the visitors to 14 men.
From the tap penalty Bann’s back row created a fine try to give their side a single point advantage.
Almost from the re-start Malone moved the ball through their backs from their own half and created the space for their winger to run half the length of the field and score under the posts, with the conversion leaving Bann needed a converted try of their own to claim their place in the semis.
It proved beyond them as Malone saw out the remaining five minutes to eliminate the home team from the competition. All the players should be proud of Saturday’s performance with a special mention going to Mark Fisher who willingly stepped in to help the team.