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BANBRIDGE U17s 41 Portadown 0

September 11, 2010

Banbridge U17s had their first home match of the season on Saturday against Portadown. On a morning made for 15-man rugby hopes were high that a talented Bann side could put in a good performance.

The first 15 minutes did not go well for Bann as they were slow to react to a physical start from the visiting pack, indeed they were fortunate not to be points down. The team however did settle when, on their first venture into the Portadown half, Stuart Cairns broke the line and fed Steven Ruddock who rounded two defenders to score a fine try.

Portadown had the wind behind them and kicked for position deep into the Bann half when they had possession. This tactic proved their undoing for Bann's second try when William Baird fielded the ball and went on a scorching run from 50 metres out to make the try line.

At this point Bann lost full back Richard Graham to injury but this did not deter an increasingly dominant team from turning on the style with an excellent display of running and off-loading. The back row of Peter Cromie, Ryan Dennison and Kacper Kruzycki in particular dominated the open play, turning over possession and carrying the ball to great effect. This led to the next try which was finished by Macauley Little after several good phases of play.

There was a similar pattern of play in the second half with Bann dominating the line outs and loose, providing good ball for the backs who ran it at every opportunity forcing Portadown to chase and tackle endlessly. The pressure told when Cairns ran in the fourth try after classy off-loading and inter-play by several of the Bann team.

Portadown tried hard to get back into the game but could not cope with the intensity of the Banbridge effort. This resulted in another try scored by Dennison who was rewarded for his excellent support work when he received the ball 15 metres out and shrugged off defenders' tackles to crash over the line.

Portadown's agony was not over yet as Cromie set up the try of the match. He picked up the ball deep in his own half and set off on a breathtaking run which took him past at least six players before he was finally confronted by two defenders in the opposition "22", he deftly flicked the ball behind his back to Little who had supported brilliantly with a perfectly-angled run. The move left what remained of the Portadown defence flat-footed as he crossed the line.

The final try again came after fine inter-play between backs and forwards before Little fed Kruzycki who dived over for a well deserved score. Little struck over two conversions and Cairns added a third to give Bann a final tally of 41 points.

Bann treated the home crowd to a display of total rugby and gave a clear sign of the tremendous potential in the squad. The twenty players used on Saturday all excelled with no weak links in the chain. If the commitment to training continues this level of performance will be achieved every week and the home support can look forward to more champagne rugby.

It is great to watch a match two weeks in a row where any one of ten players could have been named man-of-the-match, but this week because of "that try" it goes to Peter Cromie.

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