Ballymena 4th XV 67 v Lurgan 2nd XV 7
Ballymena 4’s hosted Lurgan 2’s in their opening league game of the season and won 67-7
Ballymena took to the pitch full of confidence after a long and hard preseason and this proved to be the difference between the two teams. The first points came from a Ballymena line out at the half way line. Ballymena secured the ball and were able to maul the ball over the line with Alan Hughes scoring the first of his three tries. Jonny Small added the conversion, 7-0.
A few minutes later Ballymena were camped on the Lurgan try line but the attack came to an end with a knock on. From the scrum Ballymena won the ball against the head and number 8 Mark Moffett picked up to charge over the line. Jonny Small missed the conversion, 12-0.
Ballymena’s third try came when Mark Moffett broke a tackle and passed the ball to charging prop Rodney Hall who was stopped by a brave tackle from the defending full back. Rodney was able to pop the ball to Alan Hughes who crossed the line for a try. The conversion was missed, 17-0. Lurgan went looking for their first points of the game and would have had them if it wasn’t for a great tackle from full back Karl Morris taking is man into touch. From the line out Ballymena recycled the ball up to the half way mark before a great pass from hooker Adrian Hayes sent Rodney Hall through the middle and again he was stopped just short by the Lurgan full back. The support was quick to get to the tackle and after a few ball recycles Rodney Hall got his well deserved try. Jonny Small added the extra points, 24-0. At the stroke of half time Lurgan was reduced to 14 men when their number 8 was sin binned for repeat offences on the ground. Half time 24-0
At the start of the second half Ballymena made their extra man count when the the two centres linked up well with a couple of great passes before releasing Mathew Ervine to score in the corner. The conversion was missed, 29-0. Ballymena were dominating play and territory and it wasn’t long before they added to the score. Alan Hughes scored his third try when he sold the Lurgan defence a dummy to run 20 metres to score out wide. The conversion was missed, 34-0. From the restart Ballymena scored the try of the game when flanker Donny Mckendry received the ball deep in his own half but a strong run and 4 hand offs shaw him run 70 metres to score. Jonny Small added the conversion, 41-0. The braid men extended their lead when Jonny Small was put into space to score to the right hand side of the posts. Jonny added the conversion, 48-0. A few minutes later Ballymena had the Lurgan try line in sight again and this time a mismatch in size saw centre Timmy Hanna go through the Lurgan scrum half to score. The conversion was missed, 53-0. Ballymena were getting stronger as this half went on and soon scored again when the ball was passed out wide to to leave an overlap for Alan Hughes to put prop Adam Smith in for a try. The conversion was missed, 58-0. Ballymena final points of the match came when the forward overturned the ball in a ruck in their own half. The ball was fired out to Jonny Small who chipped over the rushing defence and was able to collect the his own ball to touch down for his second try. He added the extras, 67-0.
In the closing minutes Lurgan got on the score board when their centre found a gap to score under the post. The conversion was added and the game ended 65-7.
Tries: Hughes (3), Small (2), Irvine, Moffett, Hall, McKendry, Hanna, Smith,
Conv : Small (4)
Team- Rodney Hall, Adrian Hayes, Adam Smith, Mark Ferguson, Alan Hughes, Donny Mckendry, Gary Donnelly, Mark Moffett, Maury McDowell, Jonny Small, Mathew Ervine, Timmy Hanna, Jonny Mckeown, Brian Mitchell, Karl Morris