Ballymoney lost their unbeaten league record on Saturday when they were defeated by Portadown 9-28 at Kilraughts Road. Saturday brought about some chances with Aaron Ramage and John Richmond coming into the team from injury however Ryan Clyde and Thomas Skelton were unavailable.
The match kicked off and Portadown applied early pressure in the Ballymoney half but the home defence stood firm. After 10 minutes it was Ballymoney turn to attack the visitors line and some good fast ruck ball saw them move into Portadown 22. The Toon’s efforts were rewarded with two early penalites which were converted by James Cleland to give them 6 – 0 lead after 15minutes.
Portadown playing against the wind kept the ball tight and used there forward pack to gain field position. From a penalty they opted to kick to the corner and from the lineout they crossed the line for the opening try. The kick was converted to give them a 6-7 lead.
Then Ballymoney conceded two further soft scores in the next 10 minutes which effectively gave Portadown the game. The first was an interception from the Portadown outhalf after a loose pass from a break on the blind side from Scrum Half Scott Nelson.
The second converted try came from a first phase set move where the ball was moved from the back of a scum to the outhalf who floated a flat pass to the oncoming centre. Ballymoney missed the first up tackle and the centre broke the line to score below the posts. This left the score at 6-21 at the interval.
The second half was always going to be difficult as Portadown now had the win advantage. Ballymoney did start the half well and got an early penalty to narrow the gap to 9-21.
However Midway through the second half Portadown bagged the bonus point when a miss tackle on the Number 8 and captain Lamb allowed him to make a break.
He was able to pop out of the tackle to the supporting scrum half who scored in the corner. The kick again was successful to give them a 9-28 lead.
Ballymoney again should of got more points on the board after two mauling lineouts were halted short. The referee showed the Portadown prop a yellow card but the visitors were able to release the pressure after the throw at the lineout didn’t find its man.
The last 15 minutes saw Portadown camp in the Ballymoney half and penalites lead to the home team having to defend and saw Second Row Platt sent to the bin.
With no more scores added the game finished with Portadown taking all 5 points and going clear at the top of the league as the only unbeaten team this season.
Team: Ramage, D Watson, Bellingham, Platt, Graham, Hanna, Surgenour, Mullholland, Nelson, Campbell, McCarteny, Cleland, C Watson, Brace, Strang, Bartlett, Richmond.