It took a last-minute penalty from Callum Patterson to claim a hard fought 25-22 win against UL Bohs in AIL Division 2A at Eaton Park on Saturday. In doing so, Ballymena retained the Arthur Ferguson memorial trophy much to the delight of club Stalwart Andrew and the home support.
The game had been tied at 22-22 until captain Patterson kept his cool to secure the points and a vital win that took away any fears of relegation this season.
And Patterson was pleased to slot the penalty that gave his side victory.
“I have a dodgy hamstring at the minute, so I was happy it was not too far out. And I got it through the posts,” he added.
And Patterson says it was a tough game to be involved in.
“It was a massive game and an important win. We had talked about it during the week, and we knew how good a side they are.
“They are a few points below us in the league, and we knew they would come out fighting, and we managed to get a good win,” said Patterson.
And coach Andy Hughes was also pleased to have claimed victory on home soil.
“It was a massive win. It had a bit of a Cup Final feel to it today with them coming here needing a win, and we needed a win to secure our place for next season.
“We ground it out in the second half and did what we had to do, but we had some hairy moments.
“We didn’t get started until 25 minutes in. We just seemed to have no energy, made a few silly errors and they controlled the game. They put pressure on us, and we couldn’t get out of our half.
“To go in 14-10 at half-time and to have scored10 points. It was massive for us because it gave us a boost to come out after half-time and give it a real go.
“Our set-piece improved massively, and I was just glad to get it over the line,” added Hughes.
The visitors started brightly and again Ballymena conceded an early converted try to trail 7-0 early doors. It would not have been the start they would have wanted.
Ul extended their lead shortly afterwards as Alan Kiely crossed the Ballymena line. Harry Byrne converted, and it was 14-0 to the visitors.
Ballymena responded, and UL had Bryne yellow-carded to give the home side hope before the break.
Hooker Andrew Ferguson then scored a good try for Ballymena. Ross McKay converted, and it was game on at 14-7.
Just before the break, McKay kicked a penalty and Ballymena was right back in the match at 10-14.
James Howe then crashed over the UL line to put the home side ahead for the first time in the match at 15-14.
UL Bohs Rory White then crossed the Ballymena line for another unconverted try to make it 19-15 with everything still to play for.
Ballymena then scored another try through veteran Ferguson to give them the lead again.
The Bohs were not down and out though as they drew level through another penalty.
Then right at the death Patterson kept his cool to slot over the winning points to give Ballymena a 25-22 victory.
Ballymena travel to Navan this weekend for another AIL Division 2A encounter.
Ballymena: McBurney, Henry, Thompson, Patterson, Ervine, McKay, Robson, Mark, Ferguson, McWhirter, P Browne, J Browne, Howe,Lamont, Dick.
Subs: Taggart, Mawhinney, McKeeman, Weerarathne, Crowe.
Ul Bohs: O’Gormon, Oji, Clancy, Madden, McNamara, Byrne, Kiely, Regan, O’Shea, Burton, Galvin, Traynor, Condell, Wallace, Sweeney.
Subs: Cullen, Nesbit, Rowsome, Fagen, White.