Coleraine RFC U-17s 20 Ballymoney RFC U-17s 19
On Saturday 7 December Ballymoney Under 17s travelled to neighbours Coleraine in stage 2 of the Cup and in good playing conditions lost by the narrowest of margins 20-19.
Owing to the unexpected illness of a player, the Ballymoney team was reduced to 14 players and had to call on Under 15 player, Adam Quinn, who had a fine debut game in a very hard fought encounter.
This was a game of two halves, the first of which was very disappointing for the under-performing Ballymoney lads resulting in Coleraine being gifted two easy tries and a penalty to lead 15-0 at half time.
After a stern team talk at half time the Ballymoney lads came out with a different attitude and began to implement the physical attributes which they have been showing in recent matches. With positional changes at scrumhalf and centre the team were soon into their normal playing rhythm and began to exert pressure in all phases of play on their Coleraine opponents. Their continued intensity of play soon paid off when the Ballymoney pack won loose ball, with Campbell running on the blindside, passing to Aaron Brown who scored a well-deserved try. Andrew Young converted excellently.
Ballymoney’s re-charged forwards’ physical play in the loose soon paid dividends when they won turnover ball enabling scrumhalf Campbell to switch the direction of play to the right and to feed Young who scored a good try from an overlap pass from Brown. Young converted to leave the score 15-14.
However from the subsequent kick-off the ball was fumbled and from the resulting scrum Coleraine ran wide and with Ballymoney’s defence missing two tackles,their winger scored an easy unconverted try in the corner.
This did not deter Ballymoney with their continued pressure proving a problem for the home side and it was only the excellent kicking of Coleraine’s Rory Strang that kept the Ballymoney boys at bay.
Ballymoney dominated the last ten minutes and, with the physical intensity of McCollum, McLean, Johnston, Graham and McBurney coming to the fore, the lads scored another impressive try when Campbell released Brown who passed to Pattison who then assuredly beat two covering tacklers to score an unconverted try leaving the final score 20-19 in favour of the home side.
The Ballymoney Man of the Match was Christopher Campbell for his faultless decision-making and speedy passing of the ball. Credit must also go to the rest of the team who really ran the show in the second half.