The men’s AIL1B continues this weekend with another round of entertaining matches. The pick of the bunch from an Ulster perspective will be at Rifle Park where third placed Banbridge entertain league leaders Malone.
Ballymena will be looking to to get a second W against their name when they entertain Old Belvedere at Eaton Park and City of Armagh and Ballynahinch will be looking to back up last weeks victories with wins on the road against Buccaneers and Old Wesley respectively.
The fixtures are shown below.
|14:30||Ballymena||v||Old Belvedere||Eaton Park|
|14:30||Buccaneers||v||City of Armagh||Dubarry Park|
|14:30||Naas||v||St Mary’s College||Fournaughts|
Ahead of the fixtures the table looks like this.
|City of Armagh||6||3||1||2||100||77||23||1||1||16|
|St Mary’s College||6||3||0||3||154||157||-3||3||1||16|
Ballymena v Old Belvedere
Old Belvedere’s struggles outside of D4 continued last week with a defeat at Armagh but the Dublin side will travel with a degree of confidence when they take on bottom placed Ballymena. They have a proven try scorer in Jack Keating, who’s crossed five time this season, and Steve Crosbie’s boot has put him into the top four in out points scorers table.
Ballymena’s one win this season came at Eaton Park when they beat St Mary’s in Round 3 and they’ll be looking to give the home crowd something to cheer this time out. The home team racked up half their points for in that game against Mary’s and they will be looking for a similar performance to take some of the pressure of Tim Small who’s consistency with the boot has accounted for 63% of their points.
Ballymena won’t like being the only Ulster side in the bottom half of the table so we expect a big effort to see them over the line this time.
Banbridge v Malone
Banbridge will be looking to make up some ground on lead leaders Malone when they welcome them to Rifle Park on Saturday. The home side will have Jonny Stewart available and should be able to call on Peter Cromie who still leads the try scoring with five this season. They will be disappointed after losing to Hinch last week despite scoring two tries to one and Adam Doherty will be looking a few more kicks at the posts after a comparatively quiet couple of rounds.
Malone, however, look to be hitting their stride and they will certainly be full of confidence after deposing then league leaders Naas last week with a degree of comfort. Interestingly they have no players in the top six of points scored or tries scored which is probably due to a fair change over with Ulster involved players on a match by match basis.
At the moment Malone are coping well with late changes to their starting lineup but Bann would love nothing better than putting one over on their big city rivals and I’m tipping the home side to just about edge this one.
Buccaneers v City of Armagh
City of Armagh will be looking to make it three on the trot when they travel to Athlone to take on Buccaneers on Saturday. The newly promoted team always looked solid this season but they did throw away a couple of games they should have one in their first couple of outings. However they seem to have improved their game management and have won three of the last four.
Buccs on the other hand are on something of a slide having lost their last three, but they have been by very narrow margins. Luke Carty will always keep them ticking over for points and Darragh Corbett has clocked up four tries this season but they haven’t been able to close games out.
It’ll be an interesting one this, probably very cagey from both sides, but Armagh have the momentum and we’re going to tip them for the win.
Naas v St Mary’s College
Naas will be raging after the nature of their first half dismantling by Malone last week. They did come back to edge the second half but the game was over after 40 minutes and they’ll be looking to get the boot of the league’s leading scorer, Peter Osborne, into action early on when they welcome St Mary’s to fortress Fournaughts.
St Mary’s have yet to win on the road and while they have been scoring plenty they’ve been conceding slightly more so I expect this one to go with the home side.
Old Wesley v Ballynahinch
We’ll be making it a day out in Dublin tomorrow as we cover this match and Cooke’s game at Blackrock as our featured AIL matches.
Old Wesley will be looking for an Ulster double having beat Ballymena last weekend but they know they’ll be facing a sterner test this week from a team that dogged out the win against Banbridge. I’ve sort of been waiting for Hinch to come alive this season and they’ve yet to do it, dogged determination and leaving a few too many points on the pitch being more their trademark.
However they will have a cornerstone of an all Ulster front row and a sprinkling of backs so hopefully they will turn it on for our camera under the lights at Donnybrook.
- Leading Points Scorers after Week 6
- AIL 1 B Leading Points scorers after Week 6
RUNNING T C P DG Tot Peter Osborne Naas 3 16 7 0 68 Luke Carty Buccaneers 0 14 8 0 52 Tim Small Ballymena 1 6 11 0 50 Steve Crosbie Old Belvedere 1 10 8 0 49 Rory Stines Old Wesley 1 8 8 0 45 Adam Doherty Banbridge 0 11 7 0 43
- Leading Try Scorers after Week 6
- AIL 1B Leading Try scorers after Week 6
PLAYER CLUB TRIES Peter Cromie Banbridge 5 Andrew Ellis Naas 5 Jack Keating Old Belvedere 5 Rhys O’Donnell Ballynahinch 4 Darragh Corbett Buccaneers 4 Fionn Higgins Naas 4