Ballymoney hosted Portadown on Saturday in a top of the league encounter. With several players getting a chance for the First XV, the Seconds had a few new faces to bring into the mix.
Portadown brought a strong side, and from the kick off it was clear that there would be no quarter given from either side in the close encounters. Ballymoney weathered an initial storm, and worked well into the wind to create some chances.
Portadown scored from a scrum 40m out when the pack wheeled to the open side, giving the number 8 space to make yards on the open side, from where he found the 10 in support to score under the posts.
The Ballymoney pack started to step up with the front row of McAneaney, Watson, and Brown getting a solid advantage in the scrum. With the line in sight, several drives from Johnston, Millar, and McConville were stopped short.
A good break by Millar created some momentum, and Brown went close shortly afterwards, following good work again in midfield by McCartney and McConville. A Ballymoney was converted and they turned around at half time 10-3 down. There was still a confidence that the team could make a dent in the strong visiting defensive line. A series of mistakes gave Portadown the momentum, and they made the numbers work to score in the corner.
Ballymomney kept coming and the pressure on the visiting midfield as the rain came in led to a dropped ball, which Andrew McConville got a toe to first, and followed through to score next to the posts. McCartney converted..
Unfortunately the home side could not breach the visiting defence again, and the visitors showed how it should be done, taking points with each visit into the Ballymoney half. The match drew to a close with Portadown comfortable winners in the end, but Ballymoney will know that this was a match that, with a tighter defence and fewer mistakes, could have gone a lot closer.