On Saturday Ballymoney seconds hosted a strong Lugan 1st XV in a friendly at Kilraughts Road.
Ballymoney started the game at a frantic pace with forwards and backs linking well.
After just a few minutes of play Ballymoney found themselves inside Lurgan’s 22.
Scrumhalf Stuart Nevin fed the ball to Number 8 David Campbell who handed off two tackles before being grounded by the defence.
The ball was recycled quickly and passed to the rampaging Matthew Blair who powered his way over the line for the games first try despite the attentions of two of the Lurgan defence.
James Campbell added to extra two points.
From the restart, Ballymoney went immediately on the attack with the ball spread quickly to the left wing.
Outhalf David Calvin linked well with Thomas Skelton on the wing before the ball was moved to Ewan Strang coming at pace who cut a beautiful line through the defence for another superb try.
Again Campbell was on hand to add the two points.
In the next period of play, Lurgan came back fighting and the the boys from the toon defended well against a much heavier side.
After sustained pressure from Lurgan however it was Ballymoney who came out with the ball and cleared their lines through a kick from Stuart Nevin at the base of the ruck.
A knock on from Lurgan handed possession straight back to Ballymoney and from the resulting scrum, good running from the centres saw Ballymoney back in the opposition 22.
Quick ruck ball again allowed Ballymoney to keep Lurgan on the back foot and a pass out wide to second row Michael Allen saw him outpace the defence for a score in the corner.
Campbell added the extra 2 leaving the half time score at 21 - 0.
The second half saw changes in the Ballymoney team as they sought to utilise their squad. This seemed to leave the team disorganised and Lurgan quickly took advantage with a score just a few minutes into the half.
The Ballymoney team responded well to this and quickly sought to stamp their authority back on the game.
It was again some quick ruck ball and good carrying by the Ballymoney pack that gave quick possession to Outhalf David Calvin who distributed the ball quickly to his back line. Good work from the centre partnership of Chris Clarke and Darren Smith saw Ballymoney move into the opposition 22 and a series of quick rucks eventually saw Garvin Bellingham score wide on the left. The conversion was narrowly missed by Campbell.
Ballymoney again had to soak up another period of sustained pressure from the strong Lurgan outfit. The Ballymoney defence was strong and well organised, not allowing Lurgan to have more than a few phases of possession before forcing a mistake.
The game was finished off when young hooker, Sam Kyle crashed over for the Toon’s fifth try of the game leaving the final score at 31 - 5.
Overall the young Ballymoney side impressed with a fast pace of play and slick handling which will give the coaching staff a lot to think about at selection for the 2nd XV’s first league game this Saturday.
They will host a strong Ballynahinch team at Kilraught’s Road and all support is welcome.