Ballymoney First XV faced another tough challenge at the weekend when they travelled to last season’s runners-up Portadown.
Once again the Toon were without their Captain Chris Beverland who remains injured, however, Chris was upbeat despite his side being on the wrong side of a 43-10 defeat.
“Against Portadown we started off very well but we didn’t continue on that period of rugby and then they were able to find their feet and scored a couple of tries to keep themselves in the game after we took the lead and then they were able to push on from there.
“We’re still building and getting to that area where we can play a longer period of good quality rugby. We also picked up a number of injuries in key positions which didn’t help and that is a bit of a worry.”
This week Ballymoney have a break in action which will give them a chance to re-group and hopefully nurse their injured players back to full fitness before they face Bangor on Saturday 20th September and Captain Beverland is aiming to ensure his side are more than prepared to welcome the seasiders to Kilraught’s Road.
“Bangor are a top four side so we are still playing a very good side but after a bit more preparation over the next few training sessions I’m expecting a tighter game. Don’t get me wrong the games against Clogher and Portadown have been tight in spells but we haven’t been able to sustain that level of rugby for long enough.
“We weren’t able to keep ourselves in the game against Clogher, they caught us cold very early and put us on the back foot straight away. We came into it again and then lapsed after half time and they scored a few more tries and it became inpossible to come back from in the end.
“Again against Portadown we started off well but didn’t sustain it and that is something we will be working on. We will focus on defensive work as well because we have conceeded quite a few points. We have a good break which will allow us to put in a good bit of preparation and get the guys who were injured back to full fitness if we can.
“We have a good tight knit bunch and we’re working hard at it. We were in the same position this time last year so we aren’t going to worry, we’re going to focus on the positives from the games and working on the negatives aspects, we know what we have to do.”
Despite having put in the hard yards in pre-season training, Beverland has been unable to play an active part in any matches and looks unlikely to for the foreseeable future.
“I hurt my knee during a pre-season session on the beach and I’ve been going through rehab, however, I keep having small relapses and so I’m waiting for an appointment to see the consultant to find out exactly what’s going on and how we are going to fix it. It’s a case of finding out how bad it is, what we can do, if it can be managed either by strapping it or some other form of treatment.
“Some physios think it can be managed with treatment but I keep having set backs so I need to take another approach, whether that is through a different form of rehab and building the leg to compensate on something else which is wrong.
“Perhaps a combination of that and strapping would stop it going a certain direction during a game. It’s a possible option but until I see the consultant and he let’s me know whether or not it’s a viable option or if I need a totally different form of treatment then it’s a waiting game for me.”
Although not able to play, Captain Beverland is 110% behind his teammates.
“Yes it’s frustrating not being able to play, for me it’s all about supporting the lads, it’s all about the example you set and the mind set you are in. If you appear down in the dumps then that’s detrimental to the team.
“We are trying to instill into the guys a strong mindset so that if they come across and tough spell in a game or the season that they have the mental strength to push themselves on so for me it’s very important to set that example.
“It’s all about supporting the team and doing as much as I can to push them on and make sure they are ibest prepared to face each game on a Saturday as possible.”