Welcome to Ballymena RFC @ Eaton Park – Est 1887

After a 2 week lay off the U18s travelled the short distance to Ballymoney in the Ulster Provincial League North.

Ballymoney got off to a quick start from the kick off dominating territory and forced a penalty in a kickable position on 5 minutes which they pulled wide.

From the resulting 22 the visitors pressured Ballymoney and won turnover ball, hard carrying by the pack punched holes in the home side’s defensive line through multi phases before fly half Robinson unleashed the backs, full back Mark McSparren joining the back line to cross the whitewash for an excellent try.

Ballymena were now beginning to put together multiphases and to dominate territory and possession. A penalty kick to the corner gave the Braidmen a platform to launch a line out maul, unfortunately the throw was awry but quick thinking scrum half Ryan Thom cleaned up the ball and set up a platform for attack.  Phase play from the forwards and good lines from McClung and Holding again created an opportunity for the backs to push the ball wide and wing Conor Crabb scored in the corner, the extras added by Robinson.

Ballymena were now purring and further extended their lead through second row Timmy Carson who made a line break close to the half way line and had the pace to finish under the posts to make the score 19-0.

Ballymoney showed heart and character to come back in the last 10 minutes of the half and were held up over the line by the Ballymena’s scrambling defence.  But the last score of the half went again to Ballymena, great hands from centre pairing Ben Shaw and Max Mitchell putting Mark McSparren in some space; he still had a defender to beat which he did for try number 2.

Score 24-0 at half time.

The second half got off to a quick start as Ballymoney took to the air with a high kick chase which Robinson fielded competently – launching a high kick of his own which he chased, picked up and scored a try from in the opening minutes.

Ballymoney then began to pressure the visitors who were not helped by an increasing penalty count, ill discipline at the breakdown constantly putting them on the back foot.  Ballymoney kept constant pressure on the visitors line and their defensive line was ultimately breached on 67 minutes with a Ballymoney try.

Unperturbed Ballymena regathered themselves and put pressure on from the restart, turnover ball and some phase play again creating opportunities in the wide channel, this time winger Daniel Kelly showed a quick sidestep to score the final try of the game in the final minutes.

Final score 38-5