TOON REMAIN UNBEATEN

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Ballymoney RFC first XV continued their unbeaten run on Saturday with a 25-12 win over CIYMS.

There were a few forced changes to the team that won the week before with James Campbell, John Bellingham and Jason Taggart coming into the squad for the injured Nigel Nevin, Arron Ramage and David Campbell.

Although dry there was strong wind as Ballymoney kicked off with the wind advantage. Outhalf Henderson started the game with a superb kickoff which allowed Ballymoney to mount pressure on the larger CIYMS forwards straightaway.

The early pace of the game was excellent with Ballymoney’s forwards and backs linking well.

From a lineout after 5 minutes Ballymoney drove from 10 metres out for second row Platt to score an early try. Cleland added the conversion to leave the score at 7-0.

Nearly from the kick off Ballymoney scored again. Henderson put in a cross field kick to the left wing and Watson raced onto the bouncing ball to out sprint the defence and score in the corner. The conversion was missed but Ballymoney had an early lead of 12-0.

CIYMS now got their hands on the ball and used their heavier forwards to rumble up the pitch and put pressure on the Ballymoney 22. Good running from their No12 allowed them to keep pressing for the line but Ballymoney’s defence stood firm. After 20 minutes No6 Hanna had to leave the field through injury and was replaced by player coach Taggart. The change did not upset the flow of the game and indeed straight after this Ballymoney capitalised on a mistake by CIYMS and through excellent work from the backs allowed the home side to score again. The conversion was successful and the scored now stood at 19-0.

Again CIYMS keep the ball close the ruck as the played into the wind and from the pressure where awarded a scrum 5 metres out. A wheel from their front row allowed there number 8 to pick and beat the cover defence to score in the corner on the stroke of half time to leave the score at 19-5 at the break.

Ballymoney now had to play into the wind second half and keep the ball. There better fitness was making up of the loss in size.

Good work in the lineout by Clyde and Platt allowed for Ballymoney to hold onto procession. Scrum half Nelson and outhalf Henderson were able to control the game well and used the forward to set up some excellent breaks for the backs. From this pressure the Ballymoney were able to spend time in the CIYMS half and from two penalties Cleland added kicks into the wind to extend the lead to 25-5. CIYMS backs did find some space and a break from their strong running centre released the fullback who showed excellent pace to score near the posts.

With the conversion added the scored was closed to 25-12 with 20 minutes remaining.

Ballymoney now seemed to dig even deeper in defence and excellent work at the ruck by all the forwards meant CIYMS time with the ball was limited and they could not control the game with the wind. Irvine also had to leave the pitch with an injury and was replaced by Bellingham. The backs continued their great defensive display from last week with some excellent tackles. Also centres Cleland and McCaw looked dangerous on the counter attack. The final 20 minutes were mostly played in the middle of the pitch as no more scores were added as the referee blew the whistle for full time.

Team: Irvine, Watson, Barklett, Platt, Clyde, Hanna, Surgenour, Richmond, Nelson, Henderson, Campbell, McCaw, Cleland (c), Watson, McCartney, Bellingham, Taggart.

Man of the match D Platt