Ballymena were defeated again at home on Saturday to local rivals, Banbridge. With the half way point of the season looming, Andy Hughes’ men were searching for their second win of the season to lift them further from Malone at the bottom of the table,.
The home side made the brighter start in the game and were dominant in the first ten minutes. Pierce Crowe, who looked dangerous all game with ball in hand, broke the Banbridge defence with 40 metres to go and rounded the visitor’s full back for the opening try, converting his own fine individual score for a 7-0 lead. With former Ballymena player Ricky Andrew among their coaching staff, Banbridge responded with two quick tries to go into a 12-5 lead.
Roshan Weerarathne’s snipe from the base of a ruck, and subsequent break, allowed the supporting John Glass to put Ballymena back in the lead, unfortunately for the last time in the game.
The home side struggled to hold on to the ball for large periods of the game, with the set piece not firing on all cylinders, and misfired when in good positions on the pitch. Other incidences of poor defence allowed Banbridge easy access into Ballymena’s territory.
Banbridge scored four further tries with Ballymena’s only further effort coming from a penalty, the visitors securing a 40-21 bonus point win and leaving the hosts searching for their second win of the season.
Next up is another home game against third place Barnhall with the final AIL game of the calendar year, away to Malone, looking like a key game for both teams.
Tries: Crowe, Glass, Penalty
Cons: Crowe x 2
Mark, Lamont, Mawhinney, P. Browne, Smith, Dick, Glass, Lamont, Weerarathne, Crowe, Henry, Millar, Patterson, Ervine, McBurney
Reps: Taggart, Butler, P. Hargy, McGuckian, T. Ferguson