Bann’s Under-18 side made a winning start to this season’s Nutty Krust Tournament, scoring 17 points without reply against old rivals Ballynahinch in last Wednesday’s opening game.
Putting aside their indifferent Ulster League form, they produced a quality display to put down an early marker in the competition, which this season is being played in a qualifying league format, with Omagh the other side in their section.
Bann totally dominated the opening 10 minutes, putting together numerous phases to pin ‘Hinch back in their own territory for long periods. Their strong scrum allowed the backs to show their quality and Jordan Pickering was held up just short of the try line. After a couple more phases they were held up over the line but centre Robin Sinton eventually proved unstoppable from close range and Matthew Shirlow added the conversion for a seven point lead.
From a scrum on halfway it was Sinton again doing the damage as he made the “22” before off-loading to Alex Finney, with the hooker finishing off the unconverted try.
‘Hinch enjoyed some good spells after the interval but Adam Cromwell effected a number of turnovers to negate the danger to his team’s line.
Pickering’s strong run took play from his own “22” into the ‘Hinch half but after five phases had seen the action move into the opposition 22, a knock-on gave the defence temporary relief. But Bann resumed on the offensive and from a scrum on the “22” a pre-planned move saw Harry Proctor scorch in for the third try, effectively sealing the win.
Bann’s strength at the set piece was the basis for their success, with Finney’s throwing providing quality lineout ball and prop Sheldon Savage proving the lynchpin of a solid scrum. Lock Robin Hewitt’s ball-carrying was superb while half-backs Aaron Duggan and Proctor controlled the game well throughout.
Dromore under-18s will kick off the defence of their trophy this Wednesday, when they face Ballymena at Portadown RFC’s Chambers Park.
Dromore beat Rainey 10-6 in last year’s final.