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Home > News > Banbridge knock holders out of cup
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Queens 10 BANBRIDGE 1STs 12

September 11, 2010

Senior Cup holders Queen's made an early exit from this season's competition when for the second successive week they failed to overcome the challenge of an improving Banbridge side.

The Co Down team had come out on top in the previous Saturday's Ulster League game at Rifle Park. And despite conceding home advantage last weekend and losing the try count on a 2-0 tally, they again edged home to book their place in the quarter-finals of the cup.

That try count might suggest that Bann were fortunate to claim the win. But the visitors were themselves denied two valid claims for tries as they piled on the pressure in the closing stages. And the Robin Thompson penalty that edged them into what proved a winning lead with two minutes left was no less than they deserved for a battling if at times patchy display.

Bann skipper Simon McKinstry was encouraged by his side's performance. "We didn't have a lot of ball but I thought we looked dangerous when in possession," he commented afterwards. "Queen's may have been short a few players but we have players to come back as well.

"We're showing improvement with every game and we're looking forward to testing ourselves against two AIL Three sides over the next week. With Rainey at home on Wednesday and Ards away on Saturday we'll be looking to build on the two wins already under our belts."

Queen's scored their tries when the Bann captain was taking an enforced 10 minute break from the action towards the end of the first half. Bann had been under severe pressure and when the referee adjudged the skipper to have come in from the side of a ruck just a few metres from the try line, he produced the yellow card.

The weakened Bann scrum held the students at bay at the first set piece but eventually flanker Rooney forced his way over for the opening try. Bann were still a man down when Queen's grabbed a second try as a series of sweeping moves created an overlap on the left flank which full-back Gormley exploited to the full.

That left the students with a 10-3 interval lead, Thompson having opened his team's account with a straightforward penalty in the second minute. A second penalty from the Bann out-half's boot, five minutes after the break, reduced the deficit. But when Bann infringed at the re-start, they were fortunate that the Queen's penalty attempt was off-target.

The students were given a further shot at goal soon afterwards, but the 42 metre range proved beyond the kicker's capability. And after a drop goal attempt had re-bounded off the Bann upright, Bann won a penalty on the Queen's 10 metre line and Thompson again produced the goods with a fine strike.

Bann were the stronger team in the closing stages as their superior scrum began to impose itself. With Brian Hanna relishing the challenge of his head-to-head with Ulster prop Paul Karayiannis, the referee was kept busy as the student pack began to buckle under the pressure.

Queen's conceded a penalty to give Thompson an angled shot at goal which rebounded off an upright. The pressure was now all on the home line and after a couple of 5-metre scrums, a Queen's defender was yellow-carded for his efforts in preventing a pushover try.

This time Thompson found the mark and Bann were able to play out the remaining time without offering the opposition a chance to retrieve the situation.

Wednesday's game against Rainey kicks off at Rifle Park at 7.30pm. Centre James Andrews had been in impressive form until he picked up a nasty mouth injury towards the end of Saturday's game. He may sit out either or both of the next two matches. But Bann coach Daniel Soper will be hoping that the trio of Dale Carson, Colin Bickerstaff and Mark Wilson will be available again to offer him back row options.

Bann team against Queen's:- Ashley Finlay, Jonny Little, Jonny Pollock, James Andrews, Geoff Thompson, Robin Thompson, Neville Farr, Michael Cromie, Paul Ross, Brian Hanna, Simon McKinstry, Chris Allen, Ryan Patterson, John McKim, Jonny Gibson. Replacements:- Lee Allen, James McCrum, Colin Patterson, Andrew Kirkwood.

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