Ballymoney RFC U16s welcomed City of Derry to the Kilraughts Road for City of Derry’s chance to get some revenge for the home defeat Ballymoney had inflicted on them previously in the season.
In the corresponding encounter Ballymoney ran out winners 33-7 in the league.
The match was kicked off at 11am by Ballymoney high into the strong wind which gave the Toon pack a great chance to chase, City of Derry’s big prop took the ball well and immediately got clattered by Ballymoney’s open side flanker Adam Coulter and tight head prop Adam Quinn.
Derry recycled the ball after good counter rucking to their scrum half who with the wind in his back launched the ball back into Ballymoney’s 22 caught well by jack Doak playing at fullback.
Ballymoney’s game plan was to keep the ball in hand in the first half playing into the wind, so young Doak returned at pace back at Derry to test out their big backs defence which held firm in the opening encounters.
For the first 10 to 15 minutes of the game it was a scrappy affair with Ballymoney giving away some stupid penalties and city of Derry clearing their lines with long kicks to ease the pressure Ballymoney was putting on them.
With 18 minutes on the clock Derry’s outhalf tried to clear the ball from deep behind his own try line only to be charged down by Ballymoney’s scrumhalf lee Culbertson who chased and touched the ball down for the Toon’s first Try of the match, the conversion was missed from the touch line. Score 5-0
That seemed to settle Ballymoney and from that point on city of Derry were chasing the game. Just before the halftime whistle was about to go Danial Brennan and Philip Beattie hit a good tight line off the scrumhalf which pulled in Derry’s defence just enough for a quick ruck and out the backs it went, outhalf Stevie Culbertson ran hard at Derry’s first centre and found his big No 8 Graham Donnelly and Ewan Noble at 12 running clever lines, Culbertson hit Donnelly flat on the gain line and the big man ran below the posts for the Toons second Try converted by S. Culbertson score 12-0 HT
Ballymoney made a couple of changes at halftime with their coach using a strong 21 man squad Harry McAuley and Jack Finney came on. Ballymoney were now playing with the wind on their back and immediately tested Derry’s fullback when the Toon outhalf put in a huge kick into the heavens for his wingers Adam Kennedy and Jordan Gamble to chase, Gamble got there first to put pressure on Derry’s fullback and it payed off when the young fullback spilled the ball forward, the ref seen that the ball had been picked up by a Ballymoney man and let play go on, by that time city of Derry’s defence had sorted itself out and Ballymoney knocked on just about Derry’s 22 Philip Beattie at hooker stole the ball against the head to give Ballymoney a good opportunity to go for another try. The brothers grim combined again when lee passed to Stevie and with Derry’s defence rushing up fast Stevie hit a terrific drop goal from 40 meters out, with the wind behind it, it sailed between the posts to put Ballymoney 15-0 up.
City of Derry knew that meant they had to score 2 converted Trys to get back in the game but almost from the restart the game was put beyond them when Ballymoney’s centre pairing of Ewan Noble and James Orr combined well to put winger Adam Kennedy in the corner for his 3rd try in 2 games. Converted brilliantly from the touch line by lee Culbertson. Score 22-0 Ballymoney
City of Derry were fighting hard to keep and win the ball at rucks and sometimes tempers boiled over by both teams so the ref had a few words with both teams to keep calm and try to play rugby.
Ballymoney hit the hammer blow with a very determined Jack Doak who shrugged off a very hard hit on him by Derry’s No 8 to score between the posts. Converted by Stevie Culbertson. Score 29-0
The game came to a sad end with 15 minutes left on the clock when Ballymoney’s outstanding tight head prop Adam Quinn went down at a ruck with his ankle sustaining what looked to be a very bad injury , after a lengthy break in play while waiting on the ambulance city of Derry’s captain decided to call it at day and told the ref they had had enough. This was a very sporting gesture by city of Derry captain, team mates and coaches which Ballymoney RFC appreciate very much. Final score 29-0 in favour of Ballymoney U16s.
Ballymoney RFC would like to take this opportunity to wish city of Derry a safe and prosperous end to their league campaign and wish them a good run in the cup..
The coaches, players and all involved with Ballymoney RFC wish Adam a speedy recovery with his injury which looks to have put an early end to an outstanding season for Adam..
The club would also like to thank the ambulance men for their hard work week in week out attending the bumps and bruises on the rugby pitches of our great game..
man of the match went to James Orr