Ballymoney grab away success on the road at UUC

Face to face at Ballymoney Rugby Club on Saturday. Picture by John McMullan.
Face to face at Ballymoney Rugby Club on Saturday. Picture by John McMullan.

This was another win on the road for Ballymoney.

Ballymoney travelled to UUC looking to extend a good run of form that has seen them back into the top half of the league. But UUC were clearly targeting a local win, and proved stubborn to break down throughout.

In the first half the home side had much of the play, without too much to show for it. A Ballymoney penalty after 2 minutes, and an unconverted UUC try on 35 minutes left it 5-3.

With a halftime team talk ringing in their ears, the Toon side set out more determined to take advantage of their superiority in the scrums, and translate into better possession and urgency around the park.

In the 45th minute, this was apparent when Ryan Clyde went over for a try from a lineout maul. Shortly afterwards, Nigel Nevin scored after sustained phase play, and a final offload from Ryan Brace, who was appearing bravely on the day after his wedding!

However, Ballymoney went down to 14 men with James Campbell in the bin for a deliberate knock-on, and UUC pulled a score back, breaking through midfield for the try and conversion to level the score at 15-15.

No sooner had Campbell returned, the Toon lost another man, this time though it was one off from each side as Sam Kyle had a disagreement with his opposite man. The penalty went Ballymoney’s way, and the kick was was good for 18-15.

With 2 minutes left on the clock, Jonny Hanna made sure of the win with another try, this time from the back of a lineout. Campbell hit the conversion to finish 23-15.

Man of the Match was Scott Nelson, playing 70 mins with a badly injured thumb but somehow managing to keep play moving.

* Next week sees the Conference League start, and Ballymena’s 2nd XV are the visitors to Kilraughts Road.

* On Saturday 19 October Ballymoney RFC Under 17XV travelled to Larne for a friendly fixture with only thirteen players and a guesting Under 15 player, leaving with a third win in a row.

Playing in superb conditions the Ballymoney lads played attacking rugby from the start. This caught out their larger opponents who could not cope with the pace of the Ballymoney backline. The seven forwards fought for every ball and this gave the six backs the freedom to attack at every opportunity.

The first score came after five minutes when Steven Douglas scored an unconverted try after receiving the ball on the overlap following great forward play and strong running from Aaron Brown. Aaron Brown scored a second try when he broke through the Larne defence to score between the posts. Andrew Young converted. The seven forwards winning excellent ball in all phases of play enabled scrumhalf Chris Campbell to release his backs who constantly attacked the opposing backline. This proved successful when Andrew Young switched direction and ran down the blindside beating two Larne tacklers to score an unconverted try.

Before halftime Aaron Brown, Gavin Thompson and Matthew Johnston scored three well deserved tries one of which was converted by Andrew Young, leaving the halftime score 34-0 to Ballymoney.

When the second half kicked off Larne fought back by scoring a converted try.

In immediate reply the Ballymoney forwards set up good ball for the backs and Steven Douglas released Gary Pattinson to score a try which was well converted by Andrew Young from the sideline. From then on the Ballymoney lads took control of the game leaving the final score at 41-7 in their favour.

This was another great win for the very talented and impressive Under 17s who, if they continue this momentum, will be a very difficult team to defeat.

Man of the Match was Graham Donnelly, who made his debut from the Under 15s and who played superbly in the second row.