Mar 042012
John Shine try V Ballynahinch

Their third win on the trot means that Bruff have given themselves a better than fighting chance at survival in 1B this seasons UBL.
Ballynahinch came to Kilballyowen looking for a win to gain a possible top slot and right from the off they laid down a marker with a fantastic try coming from a ruck on the right hand side with Centres Morrow and Thompsons beautiful running lines pinning the Bruff defence in midfield and allowing the room on the left hand side for No. 8 John Graham to cross the whitewash. Full back for the day, James Lash failed to add the two pointer. 5-0 to the visitors.
After this however, the Bruff defence showed just what it was that garnered them the AIL lowest ever points against record a couple of seasons ago. With fantastic staunch defending they withstood all the northern side had to offer and began to launch their own attacks from both sides. Unlucky on a couple of occasions with some nice steals by the Bruff centres Garry Leonard and Andrew Cashman, coupled with fantastic work on the ground by the Bruff Pack, a Penalty for indiscretions at the ruck gave them their first points of the day, Out-half Brian Cahill converting the penalty on 30 minutes to kick-start the scoreboard.
With the Bruff pack coming into the ascendancy, wave after wave of assault was valiantly defended by the Ballynahinch squad but after a five minute period of injury time with a multitude of phases within five meters of the Hinch try line, Bruff Flanker John Shine drove under the side of a defensive ruck to touch down just on the white line, Cahill converting to send Bruff into the break with a 10-5 lead.

Ballynahinch had a short purple patch right after the halftime break, but again the Bruff defensive patterns were more than able to deal with the fantastically dangerous running lines produced seemingly with abandon by the Hinch backs. A fabulous chip ahead by winger Paul O’ Brien almost gave them their second try and on a couple of occasions the ball just wouldn’t go to hand when they had extra numbers out wide. When Brian Cahill slotted kick number three it appeared that finally a little daylight seemed to appear between the sides but literally four minutes later, the first successful penalty attempt by James Lash after Hinch spurned a couple to kick for the corner brought them back within five and ensured that right to the death Bruff had to be on their defensive best. A couple of minutes to go left the loud home crowd breathless when Hinch squandered numbers on the outside with a wayward final pass that went straight into touch.
This result confirms further that on any given Saturday any team in this division is capable of beating any other team and also that Bruff seemed to have turned a corner, have re-found their fighting spirit and having fought hard to get into division 1B, are not going down easily.

With Galwegians having a cracking bonus point win over UCD, Bruff are now tied with both on 27 league points fighting it out on the home straight with only four games to get above the dreaded second from bottom drop zone. Points difference has Bruff above Galwegians and with a tough away game against Belfast Harlequins up next followed by games against Dungannon, UCC and finally Buccaneers, it’ll be hard right to the finish.


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