Following on from Ballymoney First XV’s 17-0 victory over Portadown, the lads from the Toon travelled to Upritchard Park to take on Bangor who sit in third place in the table.
Never an easy place to visit, Ballymoney played well but were left to rue a few errors which allowed the home side to capitalise and score. Despite this Chris Beverland’s side came away with a bonus point after the match ended 20-13.
“There wasn’t much in it. The last six league games have changed our season. We played Bangor in November and they were beating us 17-5 but we dug in and scored a couple of tries toward the end of the match and that showed ourselves and the supporters that we were capable of causing an upset, we weren’t just there to make up numbers.
“The next week we played Instonians and we lost 13-0. They were only 8-0 up until the end of the game when they scored a late try. That was a big scare for them because we had a lot of chances but we just weren’t clinical enough to get the scores. That was a big marker for us.
“We then played Donaghadee and got a win which was our first win and it gave us a real boost. The guys worked hard and deserved the win. We then went to Clogher and lost.They scored a penalty with two minutes to go to beat us 10-9. That was an encouraging performance but hard to take at the same time. We haven’t won in Clogher for four or five years and to lose 10-9 to the reigning champions was a real positive for everyone.
“We then played Portadown and beat them 17-0. It was a brilliant performance, it was a really good team performance. We then faced Bangor on Saturday knowing that we could beat them with the way we were playing and the quality of the teams we were pushing hard each week. We also knew Bangor are a very good side and we knew it would be tough because they are a very big, physical side as well as being very quick and powerful.
“We probably underplayed a bit from the level we were at the previous week and there were a couple of areas we could have been better in.
“We were unfortunate, a couple of missed tackles and maybe a dubious forward pass for their tries cost us. It was unfortunate for us we made mistakes at those times and we paid the price as they capitalised.
“We came back at them and scored a good try with a conversion and a penalty to make it 20-13. We did well and to be honest if you had said before the game we would get a losing bonus point we would probably have taken it.
“We knew we had the chance of a victory but those few errors allowed them to pull too far ahead. The guys did well against a much bigger, more physical side.
“We have a down week now followed by Dromore at home and although its that old cliche it really is one game at a time for us. We target each game and prepare for it the same way. We are the underdogs in every game we play and that suits us. we are doing well but we can still improve. We have four home games and two away games left and we will target each and every one the same, aiming to give our and get something out of each game.”
Despite putting the hard yards in during the close season Captain Beverland has yet to lineout for the First XV due to a knee injury and unfortunately he is destined to remain on the touchline for the remainder of this season.
“I wont be back this season. I found out just before Christmas that I need surgery. I had seen a consultant and had a scan and my worst fears were confirmed when they told me I had an ACL rupture. It’s too serious to place or to try and strap up. Rehabilitation is quite tough, it’s anything from nine months to a year but what can you do, you just have to push on. You’re not owed an injury free career.”
It was a bad day at the office for Ballymoney Second XV when they lost 20-10 to Malone 3. The Belfast side ran out victors with five tries to two at Kilraught’s Road.
Ballymoney Rugby Club Fixtures
Saturay 24th January 2015
Under-14s away to Dungannon 11am
Under-16s away to Dungannon 11am
Under-18s away to Dungannon 11am
Third XV away to City of Derry Third XV in the league at 2.30pm
Fourth XV at home v Belfast Harlequinbs at 2.30pm