On Saturday, Ballymoney Rugby Club’s Under 18s travelled to Ballynahinch to play the Senior Club’s Under 18s in the first match of the new season, coming home with a draw against formidable opponents.
Despite dominating the early encounters, two factors played a part in unsettling the team. Firstly, after five minutes of play, they lost wing forward Chris Campbell to a bad knee injury and then early in the second half, Ben Graham received a yellow card, both of which weakened the forwards.
After ten minutes play, good ruck ball was presented to scrumhalf Matthew Bell who passed skilfully to outhalf Andrew Young , enabling him to outpace the covering Hinch defence to score a try, converted by Gary Pattison.
Five minutes later the Town scored another excellent try when Andrew Young set up Aaron Brown to score another well-worked try, again converted by Gary Pattison.
Bad habits began to creep into the Town’s play as poor tackling and decision –making allowed the Hinch Centre to retaliate by scoring a converted try. Sloppy defence then presented the Hinch with another opportunity which they seized upon to score their second converted try leaving the half-time score at 14 all.
The second half began as a scrappy affair, with the Town trying to recover their winning rhythm and several opportunities were missed through ill-judged and slow passing to the wings.
Midway through this half, the team began to regain their confidence and their impetus. In the dying minutes they pressed for a win, only to be disappointed when the whistle blew leaving the final score at Ballynahinch 14 – Ballymoney 14.
Man of the Match was Matthew Bell who had an excellent game in his new position at scrumhalf.