Ballymena travelled to Queens in a top of the table battle and won 15-12.
The third round in the AIL 2A league saw early pace setters Ballymena face third place Queens. Both teams have recorded two victories in the opening rounds. The last time these two sides met in August Ballymena won 46-42.
The game got underway at Queens new pitch in conditions that didn’t suit a fast flowing game. It was the braid men that set the early pace with great work from the forwards. At 7 minutes Ballymena were given the first chance of points when queens gave away a penalty after foul play in a ruck. Fullback Tim Small stepped up and pointed at the posts. The inform kicker split the posts to register 3 points for the braid men, 0-3.
From the restart Queens overturned the braid men and recycled the ball well until Ballymena gave away a penalty in front of the posts. The Queens Outhalf Ricky McMaster levelled the score with his kick, 3-3.
Ballymena turned up the heat on the students as they tried to find a way past the Queens defence but the rain and greasy ball scuppered their chances on more than one occasion. With a quarter of the game gone Ballymena were awarded another penalty from the hard work of the forwards. Tim Small dispatched the ball between the posts, 3-6.
Ballymena’s confidence grew as they shifted the ball about and their backs started to look dangerous on the attack. Ballymena were awarded another penalty when Queens were penalised for not releasing in the tackle. The reliable boot of Tim small added the 3 points, 3-9.
As time was running out the braid men extended their lead when they were awarded another penalty in front of the posts that Jonny slotted over. Half time 3-12.
The start of the second half saw a resurgent student side start strongly and were soon reducing the deficit when they were awarded a penalty. Ricky McMaster added the points, 6-12.
Queens then replied with a second penalty three minutes later that Ricky McMaster slotted over, 9-12.
The game entered a prolonged period of time that the braid men dominated. The forwards were stronger in the set pieces and giving their backs a good plat form to attack from. Against the run of play queens capitalised on a mistake from Ballymena giving Ricky McMaster a chance at the posts. The Queen Outhalf levelled the scores at 12-12.
With time running out, Ballymena retook the lead with another superb kick from fullback Tim Small to bring the score to 9-12.
In the dying seconds Queens were gifted the chance to level the score but Unfortunally the pressure was to much for the students out half who missed to the right of the post. The finale score was 12-15 which sees the braid men extend their lead in the AIL standings. The Ballymena team can take plenty from this display especially the fight and determination shown from the young squad to grind out a win against a very good Queens side. Next week Ballymena take on old Wesley at home in round four of the AIL.
Team- Bryan Young, John Andrew, Chris Cundell, David Whann, Connor Smith, Mathew Rea, Michael Entwhistle, Adrian Hamilton, Dave Shanahan, Glen Bailey, Mathew Johnston, Jamie Smith, Ricky Andrews, Jordon Foster, Tim Small. Subs- James Taggart, Adrian Kirkpatrick, Willie McKay, Mike McKeever, David Ohara.
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