AIL 1B: Banbridge 19 Highfield 26

Published Categorised as 2021-22, All Ireland League 1B, Banbridge RFC, Club Rugby Men, Highfield RFC Tagged , , ,
Highfield stay top of AIL 1B after holding on for a bonus point win against Banbridge.

My plan on Saturday was to make a day of it in Banbridge with the clubs U18 game against Virginia at 11:30 followed by Banbridge Hockey Women in their Irish cup game at 13:00 before picking up this game at 14:30. Unfortunately the first two games were cancelled at late notice so I spent my first couple of hours in Banbridge keeping out of the biting cold wind by napping in my car!

It’s been a while since I’ve made the trip to Rifle Park and unfortunately Banbridge haven’t faired too well in that time, stuck at the bottom of AIL 1B and still waiting for their first win in the All Ireland League this season. They haven’t been hammered by any side but have struggled to pick up the wins, however their closest game this season was last week’s one point loss to Malone at Gibson Park.

Highfield, on the other hand, have continued where they left off before lockdown and were sitting top of the league, with 6 wins from 6, before this game. It’s been a case of unfinished business for the Cork side who looked all set for promotion before the 2019 – 20 season was halted prematurely.

The game kicked off in cold and blustery conditions and despite playing into the strong wind it was Banbridge who had the best of the early exchanges, coming close on a couple of occasions as they kept Highfield pinned in their own 22.

However, when Highfield broke out they did so with some intent and the visitors got their breakthrough towards the end of the first quarter when their blindside Edward Earle was sent over out wide to battle his way close to the posts for the opening score.

A quick brace of tries from Edward Earle helped Highfield stay top of AIL 1B after holding on for a bonus point win against Banbridge.

A powerful run from midfield saw Earle cross for his second, six minutes later, and, with out half James Taylor converting both, the visitors led 0 – 14 after only a couple of excursions into Banbridge territory.

Things got worse for the home side when Highfield’s centre Ben Murphy hit the line from close range for the visitors third, again converted by Taylor, but Banbridge got some reward for their efforts when Conor Field crossed out wide for an unconverted try. Field made a couple of strong runs towards the end of the first half and Banbridge should have grabbed a second before the break but some sloppy passing saw the teams turn round with the score reading 5 – 21 in the visitors favour.

A hirsute Conor Field scored a first half try for Banbridge.

The second half was pretty scrappy but Highfield kept Banbridge pinned in their own half for the bulk of the third quarter. However the home side reversed the pattern of the first half with their second try, in a rare visit into Highfield territory, as prop Michael Cromie found the line off the back of an attacking lineout. Banbridge full back Adam Doherty converted well from out wide to take the score to 12 – 21 with just over 15 minutes remining.

Any thoughts of a comeback were quashed when Highfield’s Sam Burns crossed for an unconverted try shortly after and, despite a late try from Banbridge’s Stuart Cromie, the visitors were able to close the game out reasonably comfortably.

Final Score:  Banbridge 19 Highfield 26

Banbridge: Adam Doherty, Conor Field, Joseph Finnegan, Josh Cromie, Ross Cartmill, Andrew Morrison, Neil Kilpatrick, Michael Cromie, Peter Cromie, Stuart Cromie, Alexander Thompson, Brendan McSorley, David O’Connor, Matthew Laird, Robin Sinton, Replacements: Adam Hanna, Josh Chambers, Max Lyttle, Chris Allen, Aaron Kennedy, Jonathan Little. 

Highfield: Shane O’Riordan, Gavin O’Leary, Patrick O’Toole, Mark Dorgan, Paul Stack, James Taylor, Chris Banon, James Rochford, Travis Coomey, Daragh Fitzgerald, David O’Connell, Fintan O’Sullivan, Edward Earle, Cathal Gallagher, Ryan Murphy. Replacements: Robert Murphy, Ian McCarthy, Sean Garrett, Ronán O’Sullivan, Ben Murphy, Sam Burns. 

ail 1b Standings aftEr WEEK 7

Old Wesley76065327
St Mary’s College75054525
City of Armagh7507222
Old Belvedere720-34311
Navan RFC721-80111

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