ON a chilly saturday afternoon, a young Banbridge Thirds team gathered without several big players to face an experienced South Antrim squad.
From the outset, Banbridge took the game by the scruff of the neck stringing several nice moves together.
The breakthrough for the home side came early in the first half after a wonderful piece of interplay between Ben Knox and John McCague.
Following a skilful by line run, the ball was slotted under the helpless keeper by John McCague allowing the team to settle after a frantic start to the encounter.
Several attacks from the visitors were well dealt with by a structured and composed defence built around the committed Richard McMullan.
Mid-way through the first half, Banbridge started to inflict blows on the opposition circle winning several penalty corners in a short period of time. This intense pressure finally produced an end product when the ball broke to Matthew Warnock on the edge of the circle. A firm hit from the centre forward sent the very convincing Bann thirds into the half time break with a two goal lead.
The second half began in the same fashion as before the half time whistle. Bann dominated both offensively and defensively creating chances and winning most challenges that South Antrim gave them.
Early in the second half Robert Scott combined well with David Smyth on the counter attack to confidently slip the ball past the onrushing keeper to give the squad a three goal advantage.
This three goal lead did not last long as South Antrim rescued some dignity through a short corner despite the best efforts of an enthusiastic short corner defence.
The Banbridge men showed great character to keep a level head and reply in the best fashion possible. Bann won a corner thanks to some great work by josh Rowe and Sam Farson.
The resulting penalty corner pull out was well disguised by Andrew Ferguson finding john McCague who found the oppositions backboard with a great strike.
The final goal in a comfortable win for the home side came from another promising young talent in Sam Farson who struck the ball in mid-air and under pressure to find the corner of the net. It was a very convincing 5-1 win that promises much for the rest of the season!