Ballymena 1’s traveled to Armagh 1’s in the senior ulster league and collected the bonus point winning 31-13 which sees them move top of the table.
This was a rearranged fixture that had to be replayed due to no referee turning up the first time and thankfully there was no repeat of this allowing both teams to play there match.
The game got underway and it was the traveling side that hit the ground running putting Armagh under pressure in the break down and through great running lines from the Ballymena backs. It took the braid men only 15 minutes to get on the score board when the much smaller pack pushed their way over the line for Willie McKay to score. Full back Tim Small added the conversion, 0-7
Armagh were gifted points right after the restart when Ballymena gave away a kickable penalty bringing the score to 3-7. Ballymena then had a double blow losing prop Chris Cundell and centre Mike McKeever to injury in quick concession. After a few chances Ballymena quickly settled and on 35 minutes extended their Lead when Darrell Montgomery crossed the line after a well worked team move. Tim Small missed the touch line conversion, 3-12. The bigger home side wasn’t going to let Ballymena have it all their own way and replied a minute later with their own try when Motrin gathered the restart to cross the line. The conversion was missed. Half time 8-12.
Both teams came out after half time knowing the next score was vital and after just 5 minutes of the second half flanker Michael Entwhistle barged his way over the line for the visiting team. The conversion was missed, 8-17. The home side rallied from the restart and showed great defence in keeping the braid men out and also looked dangerous in attack too. 20 minutes gone in the half and it was Armagh’s turn to reduce the deficit when they scored through Thatcher. The conversion slid wide, 13-17. The final 20 minutes Ballymena backs upped their game showing the flair that has got many team panicking this season and it was from another great backs move that released Michael Johnston to race unchallenged over the line to secure the bonus point win for the braid men. Tim Small added the conversion, 13-24. On the stroke of full time Michael Johnston was again released down the wing and with some tired and weak defending saw him bag his second try. Tim Small added the conversion to bring the score to 13-31. Coach Andy Graham praised the determination shown by his young squad as they triumphed over a bigger more experience side. With such a great team effort and stand out performances throughout the team it was wing forward Michael Entwhistle who walked away with the man of the match.
This bonus point win sees the braid men go top of the Ulster League.
Team Bryan Young, John Andrew, Chris Cundell, Mark Foster, Mathew Rea, Willie Mckay, Michael Entwhistle, Adrian Hamilton, Dave Shanahan, Martin Irwin, Darrell Montgomery, Mike McKeever, Ricky Andrew, Michael Johnston, Tim Small. Subs- James Taggart, James Carmichael, James Gallagher, Alan Smyth, David Ohara