On a dry but blustery Saturday the JKC BMW sponsored Ballymoney 1st XV returned to league action to play County Cavan who had made the long trip north.
With PSNI still top of the league it was imperative that the home side take all five points from this game even though they still have two games in hand.
The game kicked off and for the first five minutes it was the visitors who started fairly brightly, testing the Ballymoney defence. However with about ten minutes on the clock the ball was turned over and fed to Adam Pollock, who skilfully jinked his way through a number of tackles running fully 40 metres before offloading to supporting Matthew Dunlop who happily scored below the posts. Conversion by Clelland .
This spurred Ballymoney into action and it wasn’t long before the score was doubled with a delightful cross field kick by out half Clelland, which allowed Nigel Nevin to collect and touch down, again converted by Clelland .
Try number three was soon to follow, with a pass from the Cavan scrumhalf being dropped behind the line left prop Ian Moxen with the simple task of falling on the ball out wide and again Clelland added the difficult conversion.
Cavan fought back well and following a very dubious decision from the referee in which lock Michael Allan was yellow carded. Cavan pressed and scored after a period of pressure on the Ballymoney 22.
There were to be no further scores, leaving half time score Ballymoney 21 Cavan 5.
The second half started similar to the way the first ended with a combination of handling errors due the blustery conditions and refereeing decisions stopping the game from flowing smoothly with the home side being constantly penalised at the break down, thus frustrating both the hosts and supporters alike. Early in the half Ian Moxen was binned for apparently not using his arms in a tackle, again reducing the home side to 14 men.
However from a scrum in their own 22 , the ball was quickly fed through the hands to wing Pattison who galloped to score below the posts to secure the bonus point, again Clelland converted.
Cavan were then reduced to 14 , with referee showing red to one of the visitors for aiming a kick to the head of Allan. Ballymoney again worked hard to score try number five when wing Nevin scored his second try with 10 minutes remaining, when he carried strongly beating the away defence on the outside.
With the points in the bag, the win was soured when captain McFetridge was red carded by another dubious decision at the breakdown after he was adjudged to make contact with the face of the Cavan defender.
Speaking afterwards coach Jonny Hanna said: “After two successive defeats to Newry and Carrick in the cup, it was important to get the points here today and go into our two week break with a good win below our belt.
“It was a difficult day to play fast flowing rugby but we managed to do this at key times and score five very good tries, although the red card at the end took the shine off the performance as he felt it was extremely harsh decision.
“Adam Pollock had a tremendous game as had No 8 Munnis and also Chris Watson at centre. Young Graham Donnelly can be very proud of his performance today on his senior debut and we look forward to seeing more of him in the future.
“We now have a two week break and hopefully we can get a few key players back from injury as we have a hectic March coming up with the two games in hand to be rearranged.
“We must continue to work hard in training though as our aim is to regain top spot and hopefully win the league.”