The Energia AIL 1B resumes this weekend after a week off and it’s been a case of mixed starts for the three Ulster sides involved in this league, Banbridge, City of Armagh and Malone.
Results and Standings.
City of Armagh lead the way with two wins from three, including a fine win at St Mary’s, but Banbridge are still to get a W against their name, propping up the league on one point. Malone made full use of their returning Ulster players last time out, recording a big win at Gibson Park, at the expense of Banbridge.
The results for Week 3 are shown below.
Newly promoted Highfield are setting the pace, closely followed by Old Belvedere and Old Wesley who have all won their opening three games. Shannon and Armagh lead the chasers with two from three.
At the bottom end of the table Nass, Navan and Banbridge are still to record a win.
Malone and City of Armagh will be targeting wins on the road at Naas and Navan respectively this week though it looks like another difficult fixture for Banbridge who entertain Shannon at Rifle Park in a late kick off.
From last season’s coverage of this league we know that it can change fairly quickly with a team putting together a bit of a run and Malone look well set to put something together before Christmas judging by their starting lineup last time out.
Armagh should continue their stately progress with hard fought wins and narrow losses as they continue to display all their excellent team characteristics but Banbridge will need to scrap a bit harder and take their chances if they are to get off bottom spot.
There were 224 points scored in Round 3, pretty similar to the previous week’s total of 231. However the tries scored went down from 31 to 25 though there was an excellent conversion rate of 84% with 21 of those tries converted. There were also more penalties in Round 3, with 19 converted compared to 12 the previous week.
The league is showing an excellent conversion rate of 77% over the first three rounds and it’s predominantly kickers at the top of our Leading Points Scorers Table with Steve Crosbie (Old Belvedere) already opening a substantial gap on Rory Stynes (Old Wesley), Shane O’Riordan (Highfield) and Cormac Fox (City of Armagh).
Colin O’Neill (Highfield) and Pa Ryan (Shannon) are the leading try scorers with four each so far.