Ballymoney 2nd’s travelled to Carrick on Saturday for their last league game of the season and in a physical game come out deserved 17 – 30 winners.
The win means the 2nd’s are currently standing second in the league at the end of the season. The win gives the young 2’s players good confidence going into the Crawford cup final. Injuries to players after the semi-final game meant some changes with Hazlet coming into second row, Nevin returning from injury to the fullback and Skelton starting at 10 and new club member Andy Bothwick starting his first game for the seconds in the back row.
The game was slow to start but Ballymoney took the lead with an early Campbell penalty after 5 minutes. Carrick broke through the line and were stopped just short by good defensive work from Campbell and Nevin. From the scrum 5metres out Ballymoney turned the ball over and cleared the danger. Ballymoney game plan suffered a blow as the Toon winger was red carded for an alleged dangerous tackle. Down to 14 men Ballymoney got their first try of the game. And after good work from the lineout by Michael Allen the ball was moved through the backline and the Toon centre was stopped 5metres out. A quick ruck allowed the oncoming back row to pick and charge over the line as the Carrick defence tried to keep up with the play. Campbell added the extra’s and Ballymoney after 20 mintues led 0 – 10.
Carrick missed 2 attempts at goal from penalties but Skelton showed his form with boot as with the penalty advantage he slotted a drop goal from the 22 for the visitors to extend the lead 0 – 13 with the half coming to an end. A rare phase of procession from Carrick resulted in a try for the winger in the corner due to some poor tackling. The kick was missed and although down to 14 men Ballymoney went into half time with a 5 – 13 lead.
After the break Carrick were struggling to keep up with the pace of the game and conceded a number of penalties. Campbell slotted another penalty kick to extend the lead to 5 – 16. Forwards pressure resulted in a try for Ballymoney when the ball was moved across the backline for the centre to touch down in the corner. The conversion was successful from the touch line and Ballymoney now had a comfortable lead 5 – 23. Carrick showed they could be dangerous if given the room when good running by their powerful back row saw the ball moved out wide and with Ballymoney down in numbers the winger crossed again for a score in the corner. The kicked was missed a and the score was now 10 - 23
Carrick’s frustration was starting to show as they resulted in taking the law into their own hands and their fullback was sin-binned for a punch off the ball. A scrum was awarded to Carrick for a knock on but the pressure from the lighter Ballymoney scrum saw the ball fly out the back of the Carrick back row’s feet and blind side Curtis Montgomery was quickest to react as he sprinted of the back of the scrum, scooped the ball up with one hand and dived over the line to get a well deserved try. The conversion was successful and the lead was now 10 – 30.
The final 10 mintues was very broken up and the referee showed 3 more yellow cards. Ballymoney although down to 13 men showed great determination as they turned over over ball in the maul against a much larger side. However a missed tackle in midfield allowed the Carrick 10 to score below the posts for a consolation try which he converted which finished the game 17 – 30.
* Ballymoney now have 2 weeks to prepare for the Crawford Cup Final on Easter Tuesday against Coleraine 2’s. Kickoff is at 2.30pm and admission is payable at the Ravenhill gate. Ballymoney RFC are currently organising buses to go from the club for all supporters. If you wish to go on the bus please contact the bar staff on 028 2766 2991 to book your place. Full details of travel will be posted on the website. Please make the effort to come along and support the 2nd’s and the club as your support will be very much appreciated.