Ballymoney RFC U18 travelled to City of Derry for a league match and were disappointed to lose narrowly in a very hard fought game on Saturday,
In excellent playing conditions the early encounters were rather scrappy with neither side taking the initiative, although after eight minutes, City of Derry scored a soft unconverted try in the corner as a result of a quick break and kick through by their centre.
Ballymoney, not letting their heads drop, retaliated quickly to dominate the remainder of the first half. With the Town encamped in the Derry half and with the forwards winning an excellent supply of ball at all phases of play, slow passing amongst the backs, however, allowed Derry to spoil several good line attacks. The first half ended with Derry holding on to their slim five point lead.
The second half resumed as the first finished with the Town forwards continuing to win an excellent supply of ball for the backs which presented them with excellent scoring opportunities. With the pressure on Derry, their pack of forwards strayed offside handing Ballymoney a penalty which Gary Pattison converted from thirty metres. Five minutes later the Town lads went into the lead when, from an overturned ruck on the Derry twenty -two line, Matthew Bell released out-half Aaron Brown, who shrugged off one tackler and beat another defender to score an excellent try between the posts, again converted by Gary Pattison, to give Ballymoney a 10-5 lead.
However, from a long restart kick, concentration lapsed and this resulted in Derry being awarded a five metre scrum from which their powerful number eight scored a converted try. Three minutes later, slack defence handed Derry another converted try bringing the score to 19-10.
Ballymoney worked hard to turn the game around and their persistence paid off when man of the match, hooker James Wilson, received the ball from scrum-half, Matthew Bell, and quickly off-loaded to the supporting Brown, who in turn gave a slick pass to winger Ciaran Neill, who ran in from thirty metres, beating three covering defenders to score the best try of the match in the corner, leaving the final score 19-15 to City Of Derry.
This was a hard fought game for the Ballymoney lads who should be proud of their discipline, persistance and hard work throughout the match.