After a number of losses on the trot Down High were pleased to get back to winning ways on Saturday against Banbridge in Downpatrick. The game was evenly contested for the opening 20 minutes with both teams applying pressure. Down High looked most likely to score a try but it was the visitors who got the scoreboard moving as they landed two penalties in close succession after some indiscipline from the Down High pack.
The latter of the Banbridge penalties seemed to spark the home team into life and after a well taken line out on the 'Bridge five metre line, Nathan Gibson broke off to score his side's first try. Paddy Wright got the conversion.
A few minutes later Gibson scored again as he took ball off another well executed line out on the Banbridge 22 and showed great agility and strength to shirk of the covering tackles. Wright added the extras.The scored remained at 14-6 until half time.
In the second half Down High began to stretch their lead although all their scores were sandwiched by penalties from the consistent Banbridge fullback.
The first try in the half came from Kelvin Hamilton running in support of Nathan Gibson who made another trademark break off a line out. Gibson's pass to the supporting players ended up on the ground but Hamilton showed great co-ordination to scoop in up on the run and dive over. Wright added the extras.
Following two well struck penalties from the opposing kickers, Down extended their lead through two very similar tries from Hamilton and Paddy Wright respectively. Both were the result of Down High maintaining possession over a number of phases and stretching the visitor's defence allowing the two scorers the relatively simple job of picking a hole and running through it. Wright converted his own score but failed to convert Hamilton's try.
After another Banbridge penalty, the final Down score came through Toni Rush who showed good pace out wide after some great decision making and handling from forwards Peter Calvert and Darren Cheung. Again Wright got the conversion.
The game finished with Banbridge exploiting a tired Down defence and touching down their only try after a number of well earned phases. Ironically the conversion was the only kick missed by the Banbridge full back. His attempt also signalled the end of a useful encounter for both sides.