Ballymena 3XV 37 – 24 Randalstown 2XV
Ballymena 3s gained a well earned bonus point win over local rivals Randalstown 2s in what was an entertaining encounter at Eaton Park on Saturday afternoon. Ballymena took an early lead through some powerful running from young 8 Mical McIntyre, who was making his first senior competitive start in the Black Jersey.
Randallstown’s response was swift, scoring 2 tries in quick succession from some slick hands and dangerous counter attacking courtesy of their outside backs. Both sides were well matched in the set piece but it was in open play where the Ballymena pack gained the upper hand, making ground with each carry and competing well at the breakdown. With good ball retention and sustained pressure on the opposition 22, Scrum half Chris Smyth spotted the gap and showed a clean pair of heals to cross under the posts, leveling the scores at 14 all.
When Randalstown moved the ball wide they were difficult to contain, scoring another try in the corner, however it was Ballymena who took the lead into the break. Centre Jack Wilson punching holes up the middle, hauled down just a meter short. Quick recycle of the ball, and Smyth fed the Canalbanagh Cannonball, Lewis McClinton who crossed the whitewash, with out half Aidan Ritson again adding the extras to take the score at the Break 21-19 to the Braidmen.
Ballymena dominated possession and territory in the second half and won a series of penalties at the breakdown with Glens Man Ritson kicking 3 penalties to extend the lead to 30 -19 in what was a successful day with the boot, scoring 17 points in total. However Randalstown were not finished yet and in typical fashion for the day, they spun the ball wide and scored in the corner to narrow the gap to 6 points. It was anyone’s game in the final 10, and Randalstown were sure they had the match winner only for the ball to have been dropped when reaching for the line. Ballymena blew a sign of relief and cleared their lines in the ensueing 5 meter scrum. Regaining possession in the following play, and playing from within their own half, Prop Andrew Wilson sliced through the defensive line, before making an outrageous break up the middle, turning back 3 players inside out to score under the posts and secure the game for Ballymena 37-24.
Ballymena can take a lot of encouragement from this performance, proving the strength in depth in the Senior Squad this year.
1. Andrew Wilson 2. Lewis McClinton 3. Guy Rodgers 4. Connor White (C) 5. Lewis Beattie 6. Jack Haveron 7. Corey McKendry 8. Mical Mcintyre 9. Chris Smyth 10. Aidan Ritson 11. Ben McCane 12. Jack Wilson 13. Tre Kenny 14. Ryan Moore 15. Caithan Martin
Subs- Connor Davison, Mark Mcilroy, Alex Ferintinos