Solid win for Ballymoney First XV in pre-season opener against the Skins

Ballymoney First XV
Ballymoney First XV

Ballymoney welcomed Kukri Q2 rivals Enniskillen to Kilraughts Road for an early pre-season friendly. With both sides missing a few players due to holidays, weddings, and other commitments, both sides’ coaches were looking to assess the depth of their squads at this point in the year.

The home side, having had some tough choices to trim the 45-man training squad down to a slightly more manageable 30, were able to call on the services of new signings Adam Smith at prop, and coach James Carson had a run around to get closer acquainted to his new charges.

Ballymoney Ladies lineout practice

Ballymoney Ladies lineout practice

Both sides set their stalls out early, looking to gain a series of possession, and strike with some width. The home side had the best of the early breaks, with both Knight and McAuley in the centres making early line breaks.

As the match progressed in twenty minute sessions, the changes were quite disruptive for both sides as an attacking force. In the third period Ballymoney sent a squad with 14 players aged 21 or under, ably marshalled by David Calvin, and they duly resisted everything that Skins could throw at them, without being able to threaten too much in attack.

Ballymoney managed to create breaks throughout the game – early on through Knight and Watson, until both went off with niggling injuries, and later through Gary Pattison, having a lively debut on the wing. Simon McCrea danced around a few tackles from full back and up front Stuart Mulholland showed that he has put some donkey work in whilst away studying in Glasgow by skipping through a few tackles.

Tries came early on for Knight, then David McKeeman wriggled over, and Kyle McAuley towards the end – giving a solid win on the scoreboard over the visiting side. The new coaches of Carson, Beggs, and Cochrane were very pleased to keep Enniskillen off the scoreboard.