Bann Under 13s fight hard only to lose to Ballymena

On a cold picturesque sunlit morning Bann Under 14s took on their Ballymena counterparts in a thrilling encounter which saw the visitors come away with a hard fought 12-0 victory.

Playing with the breeze in the first half, Bann ran the ball at every available opportunity, falling short on several occasions through a combination of final passes going astray, giving penalties away at the breakdown and good defensive line speed.

The visitors went ahead midway through the half, when after a series of rucks on the Bann line, their blindside flanker crashed over from two yards. For the rest of the half Bann were encamped in their opponents’ territory but just could not find a way to open their account, leaving them five points adrift at the break. 

The second half followed the same pattern with most of the play being inside the Ballymena “22”. Scoring opportunities continued to go a-begging due to a combination of final passes going astray, further penalties being conceded at the breakdown and scrambling defensive cover from the visitors.

With two minutes to go, a Bann attack broke down which allowed Ballymena to move the ball, leading to their number eight scoring from close range. This was duly converted, leaving the final score at 12-0. 

Head coach Noel Irwin said that despite the result, he thought his team had played some of their best rugby of the season.

“Both backs and forwards were committed to moving the ball wide at every opportunity. Our play at set pieces was good, tackling was excellent throughout the game but our nous around the breakdown again let us down as we failed to convert possession into points. This week’s training will focus on play around the breakdown and in particular our rucking.

“Thanks again to all of our supporters who gave the squad such fantastic backing.”