Ballymoney Blaze kicked off their assault on the Men’s national league and having come so close in the last campaign the team will be looking too go one further this year by claiming the title that’s eluded them since 2010.
Their first match saw them visiting Craigavon to meet Aztecs, a club which has been around for over 30 years and has a huge pool of players to select from. However, buoyed by last season’s successes and the strong pre season, Blaze were confident of coming away with the spoils.
The first set started very poorly for Blaze who went 7-1 down before they seemed to realise the match had started. From there however, the tone changed and Blaze took full control of the match. Setter David Park dictated the game, spreading the attack and running the Aztec blockers ragged. As a result of this both Matt Scott and Gavin McCaughern in the Middle attack had easy pickings. Blaze made short work of the set and came away 25-14 winners.
In the second set, Blaze turned the tables on Aztecs with a strong start of their own, leading 8-1 when the Aztecs coach called a time out. Things didn’t change from there however as Blaze kept the pressure on with Jonathan Workman and Jeff Scott making kills on almost every attack to lead the team to a 25-7 win.
In the third Blaze experimented with their rotations and attacks, knowing that stronger opposition is on the horizon with Richhill Raiders and the European Challenge Cup fixtures coming up. It made no difference though as strong defensive play by Ewan Rogers and Aaron McKendry built a strong platform for Blaze to attack from, again coming away with a fairly effortless 25-14 victory to secure all 3 points and their place at the top of the table.
Afterwards, Coach McClenaghan said: “I was disappointed with the start tonight, that’s something we’ll have to get out of our game, we can’t afford to do things like that against the stronger opposition, especially the team we’ll be competing against in Europe in three weeks time. Outside of that I felt it was a good all round performance, especially in the second set where we held our concentration well to get the job finished with a great score. Things are looking good for the season!”
Next up for the first team is Richhill Raiders at Dalriada on Monday 19th October at 8pm.