Wesley soar to another key win in AIL Division 1B

by Gazette Reporter
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Old Wesley – 22
Banbridge – 0

Old Wesley continued their immense form as a sixth win from seven AIL matches saw them strengthen their hold at the top of the table, seeing off Ulster visitors, Banbridge.

They did so without conceding a point as they moved four points clear of Malone and Ballynahinch with four rounds to go.

Wesley led from very early on, Rory Stynes landing a perfect long-range penalty just three minutes in amid an otherwise uneventful opening phase. Bann did have one sight of goal but could not land the penalty and it proved their last major chance of points.

They did hold good possession and a blustering run from Michael Cromie threatened but the danger was stymied by a handling error and Wes bounced back.

A penalty allowed them to kick and find a good touch inside the Banbridge 22. Following some good carries, a deft diagonal chip by Alan Gaughan was not collected by the Bann defence and Paul Harte was on hand to pounce for the first try.

Stynes converted for a 10-0 lead at half time.

The second half saw Wesley’s momentum continue, varying their game enough to create opportunities. Another neat chip through saw Alan Gaughan collect and pass to Thomas O’Callaghan who fended off a couple of tacklers on the wing. A try looked on however the last defender did just enough to keep him out.

They continued to assert their superiority but were unable to add more points for a long time as a blocked down clearance kick had Banbridge again on the back foot. The ball got to Cronan Gleeson who ploughed over the line but the referee called a knock-on.

Stynes had an opportunity to push out the score with a penalty attempt, but the kick went wide.

Then a blistering run by Tommy O’Callaghan, followed by a strong carry by Ben Burns, brought play again deep into opposition territory.

From recycled play Wesley were looking rampant, and Conor Barry shrugged off a couple of tackle attempts to touch down beside the goal post. With the conversion it was 17-0, and any chance of an opposition recovery was now gone.

Josh Pim claimed the next touchdown as a series of strong carries and mauls pushed over for a third try but they could not maximise their points as a fourth try proved elusive.

Nonetheless, they are in a strong position going into a tough tie against Naas on Saturday.

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