Ballymoney 3XV 24 Banbridge 4XV 14
Ballymoney Thirds continued their good home form this season with another win at the Kilraughts Road, running out 22-14 winners against a strong Banbridge side.
The toon men started poorly in the first 20 minutes allowing Banbridge to gain the upper hand and place them under pressure. However when the 3s started to play their brand of open running rugby the visitors had no answer and they converted pressure into points through a penalty from scrum half Matthew Dunlop.
The last 10 minutes of the first half belong to the toon men again putting the visitors under pressure they scored a try from number 8 Neil Campbell, making it his fourth of the season.
The second half started much like the first with the 3s allowing the visiting side to once again play their brand of close quarter rugby, rolling around the fringes of the rock and making ground through their mauls. They turned this pressure into a score after the good defence shown by the home side eventually broke down.
But the home side used this only as fuel for the fire, and it was the kick they needed to return to the style of rugby that they have become accustomed to playing. Pressure from the home pack drew in the visiting defence and allowed a good brake from Ryan Brace to be converted by Dean Tulbot under the posts, with Matthew Dunlop converting the kick.
But the home side once again became complacent and allowed the visitors to score their last points of the game, taking the score to 15-14 to the home side with 15 minutes left on the clock.
The toon men once again continued to pressure the visiting defence and good work by the pack from a lineout allowed scrum half Dunlop to go over in the corner, which he then converted.
The visitors attempted to put pressure on the home side for the last 10 minutes of the match but their defence held out and after being camped on the toon line for much of this time a mistake allowed the ball to be kicked out and the game was brought to a conclusion.
Notable performances in the pack came from Timmy Hanna and William Hazlett, while in the backs Ryan Brace impressed at 10 , Richard Gault at 12 and DD Barkley on the wing.
All in all it was a good hard fought win for the men from the toon who now move to the top of the Junior League, Section 4. Captain Gareth Rankin was once again impressed with how his side played at home but said that this form now has to be taken on the road because the league is there for the taking. He also noted that the team is now starting to play bond together on the pitch and there is a real effort and fight to go out and to play and win for each other.
The 3s now have a 2 week break which will be much needed as they now have a spell of four games away from home. They will be hoping that they can take this good home form with them.