Lisburn earn their first points in hard fought battle with Banbridge Seconds

Lisburn RFC give their all in a scrum against Banbridge. Pic by Gary Barlow.
Lisburn RFC give their all in a scrum against Banbridge. Pic by Gary Barlow.

In the Conference League last Saturday at their Blaris headquarters, the Smiley Monroe sponsored Lisburn eventually got their first points in the table with a well-earned win over local rivals Banbridge Seconds.

Once again Lisburn had to dig deep into their squad to find reserves of a high calibre to replace injured players, but this proved possible and the team fought hard for their win.

The game was only two minutes old when Banbridge opened the scoring. A quick ball to the outhalf who feinted to pass saw the Lisburn defence falter and the inside centre ran through the gap to score. The conversion made it 0-7.

Lisburn then slowly but surely clawed their way back into the game and by the end of the first quarter the pack were pounding regularly on the Banbridge line.

A maul near the whitewash went driving forward and second row and Captain for the day, Alan Hughes, peeled off to score a fine try. Chris Knox converted to even the scoreline.

At this stage of the game the two teams were very evenly matched and playing a nice brand of rugby which went from end to end.

A missed penalty on 30 minutes was little reward for an illegal tackle on Chris Knox but the culprit earned ten minutes in the sin bin and within minutes Lisburn had their return.

Hooker Thomas Thompson, who had been making his presence felt with some excellent carrying and breaks through the middle, eventually broke the defence to score a fine try.

Knox made up for his earlier miss to kick the conversion and Lisburn were into a 14-7 lead.

Alas, it did not last long as Banbridge immediately came back with a penalty and in a final flourish to the half, scored again after some quick tempo passing close in and Lisburn went into the break with a 14-17 deficit showing on the scoreboard.

Early into the second period, Banbridge lost their influential outhalf with concussion but it did not stop them from throwing the ball about and their two centres immediately combined to mount a severe threat to the Lisburn line which was compounded by a missed tackle from the back row and the visitors were into a 14-24 lead.

On the 15 minute mark Lisburn got back within striking distance and an excellent run down the right wing by Ross Reaney led to a score in the corner which Knox converted to make it 21-24.

Lisburn were now trying all they knew to get another breakthrough and five minutes from time they drew level with another Knox penalty from in front of the posts.

In a frantic flurry of activity in the final five minutes, Lisburn got their due reward when Conor Guiney broke decisively between two of the Banbridge backs and the young centre ran to the posts to score. Knox put a closing finish to a fine personal display by converting the winning try to make it 31-24 to Lisburn.

The 2nd XV travelled to Donegal on Saturday but lost out to the locals in the last few minutes of the game by the narrow margin of 16-15 while on Wednesday the 3rd XV beat Lurgan 2s 23-5 in another bonus point win.

Next Saturday the Firsts play Queens Seconds away, the Seconds are at home to Portadown Seconds while the Thirds travel to play Instonians Thirds.