Banbridge Academy U13 3-1 Campbell College U13
Banbridge Academy U13 XI won the Bannister Bowl after defeating Campbell College 3-1 at a packed Playball Stormont last Wednesday. The Banbridge side went into the final as firm favourites after going undefeated so far this season but they were wary that their East Belfast opponents would be no push-over.
The Bann boys started the game strong, winning a number of early penalty corners through Josh Brownlee and Daniel Reid’s attacking prowess. Banbridge were extremely unlucky not to take the lead when Matthew Stevenson’s drag flick went wide by a hair’s breadth. The Academy side continued to dominate the game and it seemed only a matter of time before the first goal would go in for Bann. In fact it took to midway through the half before Daniel Reid made the breakthrough with a poachers finish at the back post after a great run from Brownlee.
Campbell College rallied their troops and retaliated with some strong attacks. They were unfortunate not to equalise when the Bann defence was split open but the forward shot wide. Further attacks were thwarted by the back four of Stevenson, Aaron Baxter, Joshua Cash and the unflappable Caleb Briggs as they held their ground to ensure the Academy went in 1-0 in front at the break.
The second half started with Campbell feeling the pressure early on. Banbridge won a succession of penalty corners but it looked as if it was to no avail until finally Year 8 pupil Adam McKee coolly knocked in a rebound off the keeper’s pads. The Academy boys didn’t take their foot off the pedal as they were now completely dominant and attacking at will. Midfielders Matthew Spence, Ben Walker and Lukas Moles were controlling the game with ease. Campbell could not move the ball out of their defence and Josh Brownlee sublimely penalised them to crown the victory. He masterly trapped a high mis-hit clearance, glided past not one but two defenders at pace, rounded the keeper and tapped the ball home to the delight of the travelling support.
With the game now all but over, Campbell found a bit of strength to clinch a goal in the dying minutes but the final whistle brought delight to all from the Academy as they returned the Bannister Bowl to the Lurgan Road for the first time in three years. Coach Colin Walker was thrilled that his young guns had kept their unbeaten run going and now had silverware to show for all their efforts during the season.
Calum Clement, Caleb Briggs, Aaron Baxter, Matthew Stevenson(c), Joshua Cash, Matthew Spence, Ben Walker(vc), Lukas Moles, Josh Brownlee, Adam McKee, Daniel Reid, Jonah Lutton, Denver Golbey, Jonathan McCrum, Elijah Carr, Noah Lutton, Tom Brown