Inst 2nd XV v Banbridge 2nd XV Saturday 31st December 2011

Even from the kick off it didn’t take long before we managed to put ourselves under pressure and that was sadly a theme for the match. What was also a theme for the match was that we had many moments of individual and team brilliance enter Rory Sheard smashing through the Banbridge back row and lost yards from a knock were soon reclaimed. We continued to put some phases together keeping the ball tight and won a penalty for our efforts. Matt McGuigan was entrusted with kicking duties and found the corner. “Mini” found his mark and the line was tidied up quick smart. The ever-aware Nico picked at the back saw the gap, went straight through the tackle and a five-metre dash for a good score. Matt was called up for a tricky pop at the posts from out wide and the boy did good 7-0 and all was well.

Enter self destruct mode, a knock on, a penalty, a penalty, a penalty, a yellow card, a penalty and after just 18 mins of game time we were 14 men, 7-3 and under the cosh somehow. Banbridge certainly didn’t have any ref issues but we were failing to play him too and it was trainwreck at times.

But like before from within the ashes arose hope, 14 Instonians played out the ten minute sin bin conceding just one score so ten mins from the half 7-8 down could have been a lot worse.

Still struggling to understand the refs timing we coughed up another penalty and frustration was becoming our enemy. Thankfully we battled on and won a rare penalty ourselves, which McGuigan duly slotted to round off the half at 10-11 and feeling lucky for the margin to be just one point.

Wilbur would have been forgiven for getting out the halftime hairdryer but chose instead to re-focus the team and clear the heads and the squad reacted. The second half started with good aggressive defending from the whole team and we forced the knock on. Scrum, backs, score – simples. It happened that fast it took everybody by surprise, Nico gave perfect service as normal, good hands and Matt Killpatrick found himself in space with nothing but Instonians in support, the other Matt slotted again and 17-11 back in game and looking to press on for a big result to delete the Queens defeat. Banbridge didn’t get this memo and still felt it was their day and bashed at us for a good ten minutes so when a penalty in range came along the new Captain, Andrew Mairs, calmed things down again and signified to the ref for a kick at goal. The first Matt was proving to be like a young Rick McCarthy (accurate not fat) with the lucky boots so 20-11 was another small step in the right direction.

Enter self destruct mode again, a knock on, a penalty, a penalty kicked, a penalty and we were in our own corner at 20-14 and the visitors were building again. The lineout had to wait for Mini Mairs who was receiving some attention to a badly cut eye after some foul play, unseen by the ref sadly. Then another moment of brilliance (I call it justice), Chuckles had been waiting patiently for a chance to run and run he did, again the support was good and again it looked almost too easy 27-14. Despite playing well Banbridge couldn’t get through and a whole lot of effort got them to 27-17 which was soon irrelevant after another good score killed the game at 32-17 with only ten mins to go.

Again Banbridge didn’t get that memo and after some big wins they would be forgiven for remaining confident but it was too little too late so despite finishing with only 14 men due to a second yellow card the win was ours. 32-27 in the end, ugly in parts but a win is a win and the mighty 2s are back near the top of the table and winning ways.

A special mention to Rick McCarthy who has successfully Captained the team so far this season but sadly has now badly injured himself during training. We all wish you a speedy recovery.

Peter Steven

1 Jonathon Smith
2 Michael Mairs
3 Harry Martin
4 Andrew Mairs
5 Gareth Shortt
6 Rory Sheard
7 Nick McMurray
8 Paddy Marks
9 Nico Andress
10 Matt McGuigan
11 Matt Killpatrick
12 Alex Peckham
13 Nick Dempsey
14 Matt Wright
15 Epi Ratu