At a foggy Eaton Park, Ballymena slipped to another AIL defeat against league leaders Nenagh Ormond.
The home side were punished for a poor first 20 minutes of the game, where Nenagh scored two converted tries and two penalties. The 20-0 defect proved to be unassailable despite the best efforts of all involved.
The first score came from a lineout, with Ballymena raising two defensive lineout pods, allowing the visitors to gain ground at the resulting maul. The maul was eventually stopped but slick handling from the Nenagh backs put their fullback over in the corner.
Another try followed quickly, Nenagh made a break down the left hand side attacking the Ballymena end, Callum Patterson was harshly adjudged to have made a high tackle and the referee awarded a penalty try and yellow card for a 17-0 lead. Nenagh’s in form kicker added another penalty to extend the lead to 20 points around the twenty minute mark.
In the second quarter, Ballymena steadied the ship and got their first try of thengame from hoover Mark Lamont. With a lineout in Nenagh’s 22, possession was secured out of touch and a well organised maul rolled over from 15 metres out. Pierce Crowe added the extras reducing the defect to 20-7 going into half time.
The second half was a much tighter affair with Ballymena dominating possession for large parts of the half. Handling errors and discipline let the home side down at key moments of the game with two further yellow cards making Ballymena’s comeback an even more difficult task.
The home side continued to make line breaks, with Pierce Crowe prominent however the Nenagh defence held firm on each occasion Ballymena got close to the line.
Nenagh added a penalty as the only score of the game in the second half, the visitors consolidating their position at the top of the league and Ballymena drop to 9th, 2 points ahead of local rivals Malone.
Next Saturday, Ballymena face another tough away fixture to fourth placed UL Bohemians in Limerick.
Butler, M. Lamont, Mawhinney, Howe, P. Browne, Gallagher, Glass, A. Lamont, Weerarathne, Baillie, Henry, Patterson, Crowe, Ervine, McBurney
Reps: A. Ferguson, Mark, J. Browne, Ritson, T. Ferguson