Banbridge go into the All-Ireland League Christmas break buoyant on the back of three successive bonus point wins.
Bann got off to a whirlwind start in Saturday’s game, going 10 points up in seven minutes and scoring regularly to build up a 31 point lead and garner a bonus point before the half hour.
Soper said that Bann had talked before the game about getting on top in the first 10 minutes so that the belief wouldn’t be there for the students. And the players certainly bought into that with Adam Doherty’s second minute penalty kick-starting the scoring spree.
Andrew Morrison chased his kick ahead to charge down the attempted Queen’s clearance and when Josh Cromie tapped the penalty that followed, prop Stuart Cromie crossed at the posts after a couple of phases, with Doherty converting.
The chase of a grubber kick into the visitors’ “22” was won by Bann winger Adam Ervine and his pick-up at full tilt before diving over the line was of the highest quality, with Doherty again adding the extras.
With flanker Nico Vorster forced to retire injured midway through the half, Ryan Patterson came off the bench to add two tries in the next eight minutes. Both came off the work of the Bann eight at scrum time, with Patterson picking up and using his considerable bulk to break through the Queen’s lines, Doherty’s conversions leaving Queen’s with a 31 point deficit.
Perhaps understandably, with the five league points already in the bag, Bann’s domination of the second half exchanges was much less emphatic. Indeed Queen’s enjoyed a 10 minute spell in and around the home “22” that eventually earned them a converted try, with centre Paddy Farrell taking a great line to go in at the posts, with Jack Milligan converting.
Play became a little fractious in the final quarter but with Bann re-asserting their control, even after clearing their bench, Robin Thompson and Cromie both tested the Queen’s defence before No 8 Stephen Irvine picked up from the base of a 5-metre scrum to find a clear run down the blindside for his team’s fifth try, with Doherty’s inevitable conversion concluding proceedings.