Harlequins were quicker out of the blocks when Bann Seconds were the visitors at the weekend, and a sustained period of pressure saw them rewarded with a penalty after 20 minutes.
Banbridge hadn’t had much of the ball and surprised ‘Quins with good ball retention when they did.
After several phases the visitors got a penalty on the home ‘22’. A kick to the corner allowed a David Little lineout to be driven to within five metres of the ‘Quins line, prop Jonny McCreery picking up and barging over to put his team 3-5 ahead.
Poor restart work saw ‘Quins add another penalty score and after Bann captain Paul Ross was sent to the sin bin on 32 minutes, the home side extended their lead to 9-5 at half-time.
The controversial ruling that means 2nd XV sides are not allowed replacements, however, again came back to punish Banbridge. When Richard Graham, who had played impressively, sustained a concussion in the opening stages of the second half, Bann were forced to play out the rest of the game with 14 men.
‘Quins scored their first try of the game and went ahead 16-5 while Graham was receiving treatment but the young Bann side hit back almost immediately after the kick off.
A fluffed clearance kick in the Bann ‘22’ saw Keir Patterson take off on a trademark run and a score in the corner.
However sustained Harlequins pressure saw them score two more penalties for a 22-10 lead as the 14 men continued to battle hard.
With 20 minutes to go, strong running from young centre Cameron took play close to the ‘Quins line.
A serious of pick and drives saw McCreery again barge over and the game back to within a score 22-15.
As Bann pressed for the winning try the Quins out half suffered a serious knee injury with 8 minutes remaining and the game was stopped for almost 15 minutes.
A fumble at the back of Bann’s re-start scrum allowed ‘Quins to clear their lines and run in a quick score.
Two further ‘Quins touchdowns before the end gave a distorted picture of a game which had slugged out between two well-matched sides.
After the game Bann coach Simon McKinstry praised his charges’ efforts. “With eight minutes to go we had a five metre scrum and a chance to go ahead. If we’d scored that, I think we would have won the game, but they cleared their lines and the momentum swung.
“I can’t fault the boys for effort and to play for almost 50 minutes with 14 men takes its toll. At the end of the game we were out on our feet.”