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Bangor set for long-awaited senior return

By Ronnie Ingram

Published 09/09/2016

Stepping in: Ali Lockhart is Bangor’s new scrum-half
Stepping in: Ali Lockhart is Bangor’s new scrum-half

Bangor's long 14-year wait to play a competitive senior game will come to an end when they take on old rivals Malone at Upritchard Park in the SONI Ulster Rugby Premiership.

Since their promotion to the AIL last season they have recruited wisely and there is a new optimism throughout the club. One key change is at scrum-half where Jason Guthrie has returned to New Zealand but former Donaghadee player Ali Lockhart will be a more than able replacement.

Last season's captain and Ulster Junior Jamie Clegg suffered a concussion a few weeks ago and is not available, but he hopes to be back in action next week when they face Rainey in the AIL.

Phil Whyte is the new captain and, along with coach and former senior player Jason Morgan, has been putting the squad through their paces in recent weeks.

The Kiwi has a wise head and the experience and confidence to take Bangor to better things. The increase in players means that strength will filter through to their other teams and the seconds especially will be able to make their own mark.

The main tussle in Division One is the meeting of Ballynahinch and Ballymena at Ballymacarn Park.

Both teams have started with commanding victories, with Hinch recording a 43-21 win against Dungannon and the champions seeing off City of Derry 50-14.

With each team having only five games to play in the competition, a defeat could have a decisive effect, as was the case last season when Hinch lost their first game, at Eaton Park 31-26. The other games are Banbridge v City of Derry and Dungannon v Armagh.

Meanwhile, Ulster Academy, following the home 46-20 defeat to Leinster, face Munster at Thomond Park tonight (7pm).

Belfast Telegraph

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