Gryphons grit halts Hinch
By Roger Corbett
Bangor’s 3rd XV pulled off a remarkable comeback to defeat Ballynahinch 6ths by 34-24 in the Provincial League
With no other matches being played at Upritchard Park on Saturday, a good crowd of spectators turned out to shake off the excesses of Christmas and support the Gryphons in their Provincial League Division 5 fixture. After a mixed run of results, the players were hoping to get back into gear for the second half of the season.
Despite an early try, things didn’t go Bangor’s way in the first half, and were trailing by 5-19. Only a late try by Jamie Mendez, powering his way through the Hinch defence, gave Bangor a better position at 10-19 as the half time whistle arrived.
As the second half got underway, it was clear that the players realised their poor opening performance, and started to throw the ball about with more purpose and accuracy. Despite their improved play, they were unable to prevent Hinch from adding another try to put them ahead by 10-24. However, this was as good as it got for the visitors, as Bangor’s determined attacks soon produced a try through the forwards as they rumbled over the line. A good penalty shortly afterwards from kicker Richard Lacey brought Bangor even closer at 20-24. Then it was the forwards again who levelled the scores after a powerful run by Josh Nelson saw him touch down on the left hand side. With the successful conversion, Bangor had edged ahead by 27-24 for the first time in the game.
With time running out, it looked like Bangor would simply maintain possession and deny Hinch any chance of a counter-attack. However, it was Bangor who finished the game with a wonderfully flowing move that had started deep inside their own half. Good passing across the backs combined with strong running found the Hinch defence stretched, leaving plenty of space for Bangor to run in for the try that would both confirm their victory, and deny their opponents a losing bonus point. As Lacey’s conversion split the posts, the referee blew for full time and the celebrations could begin.
This was a performance that would lift the spirits of any Bangor supporter. To have come back from 5-19 and then taken a bonus point win by 34-24 shows remarkable determination and belief. With much of the Club’s focus on the 1st XV, it’s good to recognise the sterling work the other teams do in support of the overall senior squad. This win will surely provide a much needed boost to the players, as they concentrate on consolidating their respective mid-table league positions.