Banbridge Thirds booked their place in the next round of the Crawford Cup with a win over Lisburn Seconds that was possibly more comfortable than the 15-3 score suggests.
Captain Ross Semple’s return from injury allied to Simon McKinstry’s return from retirement solved the lineout problems of the previous week.
And with the Bann pack dominating their counterparts in every aspect of play, their threequarters had the perfect platform to repeatedly test the visitors defence in wide positions.
First Calum Boland took a great line onto a Geoff Thompson pass to burst into the “22”, before Packie Downey was stopped in the corner.
Then only a stray final pass from Banbridge denied Downey again after some tenacious work from Andrew Davidson.
It proved only a temporary reprieve for the Lisburn lads as Downey got his deserved try minutes later, brushing aside his marker to cruise in from 25 metres.
Bann’s better use of the torrid weather conditions kept them in control but despite dominating territory and possession only the one score separated the teams at the break.
Alex Megaw doubled the lead midway through the second half, showing great anticipation to charge down a Lisburn clearance and score.
Lisburn reduced the deficit with a penalty, before the game was put beyond their reach by a third Bann try, Stuart Wilson finishing after Davidson had been stopped short of the line.
The visitors’ efforts to breach the home defence were repelled by a fiercely committed yet impeccably disciplined navy wall, with replacement Richard McAvoy’s counter-rucking very effective.
Stand out performer was flanker Megaw, who worked tirelessly all afternoon, tackled tigerishly and also provided great lineout options.