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Hinch 2’s Turn On The Pressure Against Banbridge
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2nd XV League – Match Report – 11 January

Banbridge 2’s  14  Ballynahinch 2’s   40

Chris Parker reports from Rifle Park

The 2nd XV travelled to Rifle Park looking to keep their position at the top of the 2nd XV League but knew they would face a stern test from a physical Banbridge RFC.

Hinch started brightly and good hands from Simpson led to a break from Mannus but as he was dragged down in the opposition 22 the offload failed to go to hand and the opportunity was lost.dn_screen

Hinch managed to disrupt the Bann scrum, with Ally Gordon having an impressive debut for the 2nd XV, this led to Bann failing to clear their lines allowing the 2nd XV a lineout just outside the 22. Piper hit his man and the team worked through a number of phases with forwards and backs before Simpson released Jarvie and the winger finished well in the right hand corner, Irvine made the conversion from the touchline look easy and Hinch led 7-0.

The visitors continued to press and soon doubled their lead, Chris Orr received the ball in space on his own 10m line, he showed his power to burst through two tackles before he stepped the full back and sprinted clear to score a great individual try, Irvine converted to put Hinch 14-0 up. This second try seemed to spur Banbridge into lift and soon they worked their way into the Hinch 22, following a number of drives they got over the line and converted, 14-7.

Hinch responded immediately, Conor Piper tidied up loose ball at a lineout and made a break in midfield, he then drew the full back to allow Davy Chambers to take the supporting pass and score under the posts, Irvine added the extras to make it 21-7.  Hinch began to turn the screw and Donaldson nearly put Birt away on the left flank, the ball was recycled and Hinch worked their way through a number of phases before Chris Stevenson cut a great line on the opposition 22 ghosting through the defensive line before he stepped the full back and dotted down under the posts, Irvine did the needful with the conversion.

Bann responded once again and got another converted score for their efforts, unfortunately during that attack Hinch were reduced to 14 men when Jordan McMullen had to leave the pitch injured. The 2nd’s knew the next score was crucial and following a quick tap penalty in midfield by Irvine, the ball was moved to Sam Hanna who got the ball to Jarvie in space where he beat two defenders to score his 12th try of the season, Irvine’s conversion from the touchline went the wrong side of the uprights and the score at half-time was  33-14.

The 2nd half started with Hinch looking to push on and following some great interplay between forwards and backs, Chris Stevenson took the ball and showed deft hands to put Andy Simpson through a gap and the second row showed enough pace to get over in the corner, Irvine again converted from the touchline and Hinch led 40-14. Banbridge threw everything at Hinch and time and time again resolute defence from the visitors saw them repel attack after attack with Davy Harris, Josh Donaldson and Owen Jarvie making vital turnovers. Hinch were then reduced to 13 men when Mannus was yellow carded, this just further galvanised the team and they managed to see out the match and seal a 40-14 victory.

This was a more complete performance by the 2nd XV than the previous week, their attack in the first half was clinical and this was backed up in the second half by some resolute defence. The 2nd XV face Ballymena 2nd XV in the Conference next weekend, Hinch sneaked a win at Eaton Park earlier in the season with a last minute score, with the 1st XV having no fixture all support would be appreciated in what will be an intriguing encounter.

Team: C Orr, O Jarvie, S Hanna, D Harris, F Birt, R Irvine, B McMullan, D Chambers, J Donaldson, J McMullen, A Simpson, B Mannus, A Gordon, C Piper, C Stevenson (C)