Bann U18s triumph against Rainey U18s

BANN U18s 12 RAINEY U18s 5

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 10:27 am
Kai Shields twists out of the Rainey U18 defence to claim his first try in a Bann shirt

Banbridge RFC U18s had the first half advantage of a slight wind in otherwise perfect playing conditions.

But despite being encamped in Rainey territory for long periods, they were unable to break down the defence, thanks in part to handling errors at critical times.

Bann began to take control at the start of the second half, this time asking more searching questions of their visitors. Ten minutes into the half, forwards and backs combined to put Kai Shields in for his first score in a Bann shirt.

Noah Parks at full stretch as he touches down for Bann U18s' second try

Although unconverted, the try seemed to kick Bann into life as they laid siege to Rainey’s “22”. The initial surges were contained, but eventually a gap opened up for Noah Parks to race through for the second try, to which Dennis Kerr added the conversion.

Rainey were far from a spent force and they had their reward off the back of a series of penalties, picking up the unconverted try which came too late to offer hope of salvaging a draw.

After the game coach Guy Charman said he was delighted with the win.

He said: “There is some work to be done to ensure we are ready for the visit of Ballymena.

“Unfortunately, in the first half we made a lot of mistakes.

“We have had a couple of tough weeks but the guys got the job done. Congratulations to Kai Shields on his first try for the club.”

BANN U16s 28 RAINEY U16s 0

With a big win on the road the previous week at Enniskillen, Banbridge were out to prove they could do it at home when they took on Rainey in their Ulster Carpets Provincial League game.

A single try had separated the sides in their previous fixture in Magherafelt, so another close contest was expected.

Rainey had the put-in to a scrum inside their own “22” early in the game, but the Bann pack had the home eight on the back foot. Murray Napier produced a great jackal to put Ryan McMurray in for the opening score, with Tim Robinson converting.

Keeping the ball tight the home side was able to take play into Bann territory but when the focus of play resumed in the home half Bann won a scrum in a strong attacking position. Skipper Darragh McCann was forced to retire from the action, giving Livai Naga an early opportunity to impress in the back row. And he showed his enormous potential, picking up from the base of the scrum to explode through the defence for his side’s second try, Robinson’s conversion from out wide giving his side a 14-0 interval lead.

Exchanges became more physical after the break, but it was still Bann calling the shots. A smashing run from Josh Herron gave Addison Kennedy the chance to exhibit his devastating finishing skills as he raced in for the third try, with Robinson showing his consistency off the tee.

With an impending appendix operation keeping Pearse Magill away from the action, Sam Macauley was proving his worth to the squad with a number of strong carries. And Miklas Cross came on to make a strong case for a place in the starting XV with some penetrating runs.

The Rainey defence was creaking and Jude Shields eye for a gap took him in for his side’s fourth try, with Robinson adding his fourth conversion.

Coach Stephen Porter said after the game that he was particularly pleased with the way the new players were fitting in.

He said: “They have all brought special skills to add to what we already had. They have bought into what we are trying to achieve and really adding to the overall strength of the squad.

“We all wish Pearse a speedy recovery from his operation - I’m sure it won’t be long until he is in a Bann jersey again.”