Ulster Plate appears to elude Ballymoney Under-18s

On Saturday, Ballymoney Under 18s lost narrowly at home to their counterparts from Newry, in the semi final of the Ulster Youth Plate, also losing their undefeated home record which they have defended for two seasons.

Newry came to the Kilraughts Road determined to prevent the home team from playing their usual attractive style of rugby, and the Town lads found themselves 7-0 in arrears after four minutes, when poor defensive tackling allowed Newry in for a converted try.

The Town retaliated by scoring two excellent tries, one of which was converted. The first was when Matthew Bell fed Jack Kane, who deftly passed to the overlapping Gary Pattison. Gary cut outside his opposite number and superbly presented an inside pass to the supporting Bell, who out-sprinted the Newry defence to score an excellent try which was converted by Pattison.

Five minutes later the Ballymoney lads scored their second try, when fullback Pattison collected a long clearance kick from Newry on the halfway line and caught out the Newry defence by quickly changing direction to touch down in the corner. The conversion was missed.

However, Newry had no intention of losing their grip on this game and promptly replied with a try and two converted penalties to leave the halftime score 18-12 to the visitors. Ballymoney missed several good scoring opportunities early in the second half, due to over exuberance and a lack of discipline which allowed Newry to score another converted try.

With time running out the Town lads, in their attempt to reduce the arrears scored again, when Chris Campbell popped up a crash ball which was taken by William Parkhill, to crash over between the posts. Gary Pattison converted, leaving the final score 19-25 to Newry.

This was a disappointing result and end of season for the Under 18s who were unable to achieve their potential in this instance.