MALONE 22 BANBRIDGE 15
BANBRIDGE had to be content with a losing bonus point from Saturday’s Ulster League game played at Gibson Park.
Neither side was at full strength but it was the home side that dominated the opening quarter, opening up a 12 point gap through two tries and a conversion.
Ryan Patterson’s strong running earned Bann a penalty in front of the Malone posts which out-half Adam Doherty had no trouble converting. But when Malone went back on the offensive the Bann defensive line was breached for a third time, leaving the visitors trailing 17-3.
With half time approaching Bann hacked through on a loose Malone pass, setting up a scrum inside the home “22”. Winger James Andrews’ insertion into the line allowed Bann to win quality ruck ball and Chris Allen broke through a couple of tackles to score his side’s opening try, the lock forward’s fourth touchdown in three games.
No 8 Jonny Graham was unfortunate to be denied a try six minutes after the interval, the referee adjudging the ball to have been nudged forward at the point of touchdown. However four minutes later Bann got the score their bright second half opening warranted, with Patterson’s bludgeoning run taking him over from eight metres.
Doherty’s conversion reduced to the leeway to just two points, but Malone’s retaliation was not long in coming, with their fourth try earning the bonus point and leaving Bann a converted try adrift.
Bann edged the exchanges in the final quarter but were unable to break down the rugged Malone defence, with Doherty losing out by a fingertip in the follow-up to his grubber kick into the home in-goal area.