Hockey: Two wins in a week for Ballymoney First XI

Nikki Parke was on target for Ballymoney. Rowland White/Presseye
Nikki Parke was on target for Ballymoney. Rowland White/Presseye

Ballymoney 1st XI travelled to Portadown on Friday evening, to play their second ‘away’ game of the week.

Having already beaten Raphoe two nights previous, the girls displayed yet another composed, dominate performance achieving a 3-0 win.

Under the guidance of coach, Richard Fairman, in his second season with the team, Ballymoney hoped to build on their performance against Raphoe.

The game started in lively fashion, with Ballymoney earning their first penalty corner three minutes into the game. However, it was Portadown who were awarded the next two penalty corners, but were dealt with by the experience in Ballymoney’s defensive team.

It was Ruth Sutherland, who broke the deadlock in the 14th minute with her renowned strike at penalty corners putting the Ballymoney girls ahead.

Ballymoney continued to dominate for the remaining period in the half. In the second half, Ballymoney posed many problems for Portadown and in the fifth minute a Portadown foot on the goal line meant Ballymoney were awarded with a penalty stroke. Nikki Parke made no mistake in slotting it home to give Ballymoney a 2-0 lead.

The Ballymoney girls, a mix of experience and youth continued to display some wonderful hockey but will be disappointed not to have added to scoreline.

In the remaining minutes a pass from Nikki Parke was picked up on the post by young Elle Kirgan who secured the 3-0 for her team.

The Toon started off their new season with a very comfortable 3-0 win over newly promoted side, Raphoe in the Ulster Shield last Wednesday.

With constant pressure being put on the Raphoe’s defence they finally caved nine minutes in, with an unlucky chance from Katherine Gawn saved by the keeper, Nikki Parke was the quickest to react to the loose ball and slot the first goal for Ballymoney.

On 33 minutes a poor clearance from Raphoe saw Ruth gather the ball and hit an unstoppable strike from top of the circle which flew past the Raphoe keeper making the scoreline 2-0.

Ballymoney continued to dominate the game after the break and scored a third goal from forward Katherine Gawn, as she demonstrated the skilful player she is by scoring a reverse stick shot at the back post giving the Raphoe keeper no chance.

Before the end youngster Anna Nawn stepped up to take a penalty stroke after Gawn was taken down, however the Raphoe keeper was focused and managed to save the flick and swot the ball out wide to safety.

Ballymoney continue their Denman Shield campaign on Wednesday 21st September at home to Dungannon.

Definitely a game not to be missed (8pm start).