We continue our tidy up of the All Ireland Leagues with our wrap of AIL 1B which also ended in Week 14.
AIL 1B contains three Ulster sides in Banbridge RFC, City of Armagh RFC and Malone RFC, who all finished the season in tight formation in the middle of the table vying for a play of place.
Malone finished the season on a run of three wins and looked well set to consolidate a playoff place.
However, Banbridge were level on points and were scheduled to host Malone at Rifle Park on Week 16 and both sides faced tough run ins. Armagh, four points behind, looked to have the most promising run in and would be preparing to take advantage should either of the two teams above them slip up.
In reality, everyone down to Old Belvedere still had realistic hopes of a play off place though, in a remarkable first season in AIL 1B, Highfield looked to have automatic promotion wrapped up, sitting nine points clear with only two losses over the fourteen games.
Unfortunately for Navan, who came up from 2A alongside Highfield, they found life in 1B a touch more challenging. However, they’ll have another season to find their feet and I’m sure they are planning to be next season’s surprise package!
AIL 1B Leading Scorer.
The fourteen rounds saw a total of 2523 points scored with an average of 180 points per match weekend. The points came from 318 tries, 214 conversions (67% conversion rate), 158 penalties and 1 drop goal.
The highest scoring week was Week 2 which saw 231 points scored, including 31 tries.
The largest individual points haul in a single weekend came from Old Belvedere’s Steve Crosbie who notched up 24 points against Navan. The points came from 1 try, 2 conversions and 5 penalties.
Crosbie led the leading scorers table until dropping out around Week 11. Old Wesley’s Rory Stynes had been scoring regularly throughout the season and was best placed to push on and claim the 2020 AIL 1B Leading Points Scorer with 112 points from the fourteen games.
A try hungry Pa Ryan at Shannon set the tone early in the season, notching up 6 tries in his first six games.
Banbridge’s Peter Cromie applied the pressure, when Ryan went off the boil mid season, but the Shannon man hit back with a late rally and a brace in Week 13 saw Pa Ryan secure the AIL 1B Leading Try Scorer with 10 tries over the 14 games.
AIL 1B Team of the Season
We’ve referenced the teams by points difference, tries scored and try conversion rate in the graphics below.
Highfield and Shannon both topped 300 points for for the season, both teams scoring 41 tries over the 14 games. Shannon also had the league’s highest try conversion rate at 78%.
Old Wesley had the league’s tightest defence conceding 198 points, three less than league leaders Highfield.
From the clubs that we covered regularly, I had a lot of time for City of Armagh, and the remarkable job that Willie Faloon is doing at that club but there was really only one contender for the AIL 1B Team of the Season and that is Highfield.
The Cork side battled it out with Old Wesley at the start of the season as both teams went on a seven game winning run. Old Wesley took the honours when they met in Week 8 but the Dublin side then went on a run of four defeats.
Highfield showed their mettle and went on to record only one more loss in the remaining six games to pull nine points clear by the time the season came to it’s abrupt end.
They did it in style leading the points scored table with an average of three tries per game in a remarkable first season in AIL 1B.
Details of their scorers below.
You can view the rest of the teams stats in the dropdowns below.