In good conditions at Eaton Park Ballymena exerted the early pressure, which yielded a penalty, converted with ease by Brett Herron. Armagh were totally unfazed by this minor setback and spent most of the rest of the first half giving Ballymena a lesson in playing rugby with pace, power and precision, which brought them four excellent tries, all of which were converted by outhalf Fox. He also landed a penalty on top of the twenty eight points that Armagh had scored to give them a half time lead of 31-3.
At this point it was hard to see how Ballymena were going to avoid further embarrassment, but some positional changes and substitutions changed the face of the game. They were now the dominant team for most of the second half, although a moment of carelessness in midfield allowed Armagh to snaffle the ball and score their fifth try, duly converted by Fox. Before that they had produced some excellent rugby for Adam McBurney to dive over from close range to make the score 8-38. It was Ballymena who finished the stronger scoring two more excellent tries through Joe Thompson and Dean Reynolds, both of which were converted by Herron.
With the first UBL game scheduled foe next Saturday, away to Old Wesley, Ballymena will need to see a substantial improvement all round if they are to make any impression on that league.
Gallery courtesy of Darrell O’Kane Photography