A DERBY defeat for Ballymoney against Ballymena Seconds at Kilraughts Road in the Conference League.
Ballymoney welcomed Ballymena’s 2nd XV in the Conference league, looking to build on a strong run of results in the Kukri Qualifying league in the past few weeks.
With influential scrum half Scott Nelson facing an operation regarding an injury, Matthew Dunlop stepped up after a good run in the 2s.
Peter Irvine also returned to the squad, with Matthew Blair getting a full game for the 2s after a few weeks on the bench. Simon Mcrae also stepped up, with Ryan Brace away on honeymoon.
The reshuffles meant a shaky start - in the first 5 minutes Ballymena got the scoreboard moving with a converted try after some poor handling, and kept the momentum with a drop goal and penalty on 10 and 12 mins, to lead 13-0.
But Ballymoney regrouped and began to put some better play together - Thomas Skelton’s kick and chase threatened the line on 20 minutes, before Ryan Clyde got over the line from a close range lineout on 30 minutes for the Toon’s opening try. 13-7 at half time.
The second half opened with Ballymena again getting an early try, this time a breakaway score on 42 mins.
But Ryan Clyde was back on the board with another try 3 mins later, this time after several good phases of play.
A Kyle McAuley penalty on 55 mins made it 18-15.
However, the comeback was not to be, and despite all their best efforts, Ballymoney were not able to get back on the scoreboard - only a single penalty in the last 20 minutes for Ballymena made it 21-15 at the end.
Coach Jason Taggart was pleased with the performances of the your players stepping up or coming back from injury.
The Man of the Match was Ryan Clyde.
Next week is the return of Qualifying league action, with Bangor visiting Kilraughts Road on a good run of form after their promotion last year.
* Get the latest reports from Ballymoney Rugby Club in the Ballymoney Times.