Queen’s put 
Bann to the sword at Rifle Park


After a second defeat in as many games, Banbridge find themselves pointless and, albeit at a very early stage of the season, in a relegation place in Division 2A.

It is a far cry from the whirlwind start to last season’s campaign which saw the side rack up five bonus point wins, including a 20-45 success over Saturday’s opposition Queen’s, before suffering their first setback.

An injury to Shandon Scott in the pre-game warm-up necessitated a late re-shuffle in the home backline, with Adam Doherty moving to out-half, Miles O’Hagan moving to full-back and James Andrews coming into the centre. Ian Porter’s early penalty gave Bann the lead but Chris Colvin hit back with that opening Queen’s try from a move that covered the length of the pitch. Richie McMaster converted and although Porter added a second penalty before the break Queen’s had that single point advantage when play resumed.

Bann might have made more of a clearly superior set scrum but a five metre opportunity was wasted, while Queen’s did well to retain possession on their put-in despite intense pressure from the home eight. In contrast to Bann’s profligacy the students made the most of every scrap of possession that came their way, adding further tries through Damon Hall and the impressive Stuart McIlwaine. McMaster’s conversions of both touchdowns left Bann 15 points adrift. Scott’s late withdrawal brought Jonny Little onto the home bench and the centre’s introduction to the action midway through the second period brought a cutting edge to his side’s attacks. With five minutes remaining Bann built up a head of steam, going through the phases to allow Little to run a good line and go in at the posts for Porter to convert.

But in the time remaining Bann were unable to add the score that would have salvaged the losing bonus point that their efforts probably merited. This weekend Bann travel to take on Rainey in the Ulster League where they will be hoping to pick up a second win in the provincial campaign, while the Seconds host Donaghadee in the Junior Cup.