Ballymoney 4th XV returned to winning ways in the league on Saturday with an away 19-5 victory over a strong Belfast High School team.
Having been beaten away twice before this season to Randlestown in the opening game and Newry last week captain Jonny Stewart had his players fired up as they knew a first away win of the season was vital.
Ballymoney received the kickoff and started off at a very fast pace, with scrum half Barkley quickly feeding the ball to the larger more experienced Ballymoney forwards. Good runs from John Waide, Ricky Millar and prop “Beefy” made ground as they played against the wind. BHSFP looked dangerous when they got the ball to the back line as there young centres added a lot of pace to their attack, however the solid work of Christie and Watters in defence limited any scoring chances.
Ballymoney had the early control of lineouts and scrums as they kept play in the middle of the pitch. A break by a Toon forward on half way say him stopped short of the try line and the pass out of the tackle to the support Christie was adjudged to be forward. From the scrum Ballymoney added pressure and the ball was kicked out for a lineout. Again pressure resulted in BHSFP spilling the ball behind the try line and Ian Johnston was on hand to pounce on the loose ball and secure the first try of the game. Jarivs missed the conversion in difficult conditions but Ballymoney had the lead 0-5 after 20minutes. Ballymoney controlled most of the play for the rest of the half however on the only time BHSFP were in the Toon 22 they scored on the stroke of half time. A scrum was secured but the clearance kick didn’t find touch and High School used their quick back to move the ball to wing where an overlap saw their winger go in unopposed in the corner. The kick again was wide the score at half time was 5-5.
Ballymoney closed the game off in the first 15minutes of the second half. A drive at the lineout created a succession of quick rucks and resulted in one of the toon forwards crashing over under the posts. Trainor made no mistake with the kick and Ballymoney took the lead again at 5-12 with 50 minutes played.
BHSFP found it difficult to match the Ballymoney pressure in the forwards and at every opportunity moved the ball out to their centres. Ballymoney coped well with this in the second half as they rushed up in defence to limit the home teams time on the ball. A tacking in midfield by centre Watters on his opposite number allowed fellow centre Christie to kick through and winger Timmy Hanna was on hand to coolly gather the ball and outpace the cover to score below the posts. Jarivs again converted the kick to extend the lead to 5-19.
Jarivs Trainer continued to control the game and with every chance he had he used the win the pin the home team in their own half. BHSFP frustration started to show as they received two yellow cards which ended their chances of staging a come back. Ballymoney played the game out until the referee blew for full time.
Next week see’s the 4th XV travel to play neighbours Coleraine 4th XV at Coleraine in the league.
On Saturday the 2nd XV had a home win over Lisburn 2nd XV 36-8 with trys from Matthew Blair, Neal Mullholland, Michael Allen, Thomas Knight, Jonny Linton and James Campbell. James Campbell also kicked 3 conversions. Try of the game was a break from Neal Mullholland from his own half which saw him link up with Jonny Linton to beat the last defender and for Linton to pass it back to Mullholland for the big man to score below the posts. Man of the Match was second row Andy Gardener.
The 3rd XV lost in a close game away to City of Derry 3rd XV 11-8. Philip Docherty kept up his good recent form with another try and the trusty boot of Matthew Dunlop added a penalty.
The Power NI under 19’s lost in the league 29-12 at home to Randlestown. Two trys from Andrew McAlonan and a conversion from Simon McCrea wasn’t enough to give the home team the victory.
This Saturday 6th October see the 1st XV travel to Coleraine to play the annual Tweed Cup game. It will be the second away game in a row this season so any travelling support would be much appreciated. There is nothing between the 2 sides as Coleraine have only lost once this year in the league. It will be a very close and entertaining game so if you are free come down to Coleraine and see if the Toon men can add another win to their tally and retain the Tweed cup which they won last season.