Ballynahinch score eight tries against rivals Banbridge in final of Crawford Cup

David Gunson makes a break.
David Gunson makes a break.

Ballynahinch regained the Crawford Cup with a comprehensive win over County Down rivals Banbridge at the Kingspan Stadium.

Hinch beat Queen’s in the 2014 final before losing last season’s decider against Omagh, but they were just too powerful for Banbridge, running in eight tries without reply.

Hinch scored four tires in each half and their own line was rarely threatened.

Hinch scrum half Jonathan Murdock started the scoring after eight minutes when he was put clear following a line break by hooker Connor Phillips before putting the pivot under the posts with winger Joseph Bingham converting.

Banbridge were denied a try on 17 minutes after the forwards had worked the ball through a series of phases, openside flanker Andy Brown stretched to touch down but the Hinch defence was able to stop him grounding the ball.

From the resulting five metre scrum Bann again patiently worked the ball through the phases but were held up over the line again, and from the next scrum out half John Ferris put in a crossfield kick but it caught the breeze and drifted into touch.

Bingham nudged Hinch further ahead with a penalty in front of the posts on 26 minutes after Bann were caught offside.

Hinch effectively ended the game as a contest with three tries in the final 12 minutes of the first half.

Murdock was the first to cross the whitewash on 28 minutes.

The forwards trucked the ball up to just over the halfway line, Murdock picked the ball up from a ruck and sprinted under the posts, powering past the last defender – Bingham added the conversion.

Hinch scored again six minutes later. From a scrum in the Bann 22 they moved the ball wide quickly to the opposite wing allowing full back Michael Carson to cross with Bingham slotting over the conversion.

Hinch increased their lead at the break to 29-0 with a try in first half injury time.

Out half Ross Carlisle led a counter attack out of his own half, he fed winger Mark McCormick and the Hinch captain carried the ball deep into the 22 before putting Bingham over in the corner.

Hinch started the second half the way they finished the first with Bingham crossing again two minutes after the restart when he finished off a slick handling move but was unable to convert his own try.

The Ballymacarn Park side had replacement flanker Nicky Jones sin binned for a dangerous tackle which allowed Bann to have a sustained period of pressure in the 22 but they couldn’t turn it into points.

Hinch had to wait until the 66th minute for their next score, they were awarded a free kick from a lineout, the forwards carried close to the line, the ball was quickly recycled and spun wide leaving Carson with an easy finish in the corner for his second try.

Replacement winger Ben McMullan sprinted under the posts from his own half on 72 minutes making Bingham’s conversion a formality.

McMullan completed the rout three minutes from time when he grabbed his second try.

Ballynahinch 3: M Carson, M McCormick, J Graham, C Kirk, J Bingham, R Carlisle, J Murdock A Glenn, C Philips, J Milligan, R Lusk, D Gunson, P Orr, J Andrews, C Piper

Replacements: B McMullan, N Jones, D Steele

Banbridge 3: C Boland, S Honeyford, W Baird, G Thompson, C Berry, J Ferris, J Dodds N Walker, G Briggs, B McKevitt, R Semple, S Marshall, A Megaw, A Brown, A Davidson

Replacements: R McElroy N Cochrane, A Stirling

Referee: D. Horner