Ballymena travelled to Magherafelt to play third place Rainey in the Ulster league and won 41-16.
This was always going to be a big game in Ballymena’s eyes for several reasons and the braid men that took to the field didn’t disappoint. The first half started with Rainey playing with the wind in their backs pinning Ballymena deep in their own half for large periods of the game. Even with the wind advantage against them it was Ballymena who drew first blood when number 8 Aidy Hamilton hit a great line to crash over for the opening score. Rory Drysdale added the conversion, 0-7. At the restart Rainey turned the ball over and went on the attack. They kept the ball in hand until they unlocked the braid men’s defence to get on the score board. The conversion was added, 7-7. Ballymena battled hard against the wind and again were rewarded when centre Paddy James ran through some poor tackling to score out wide. Rory Drysdale missed the touch line conversion, 7-12. The clock was on the stroke of half time when Rainey were gifted a breakaway try under the posts which was converted, 14-12. Rainey took a slender lead into half time.
In the second half Ballymena had the wind in their back and put Rainey under serious pressure with superb kicking from Glen Bailie and Rory Drysdale. It was only a matter of time before the braid men’s pressure would crack Rainey’s defence. On 50 minutes the flood gates opened when Aidy Hamilton went from the base of the scrum to power over for his second try of the game. Rory Drysdale added the conversion, 14-19. A few minutes later Brian young got on the score board when he was drove over with help from his pack. Rory Drysdale booted the conversion over from out wide, 14-26. Rory Drysdale got a well deserved try of his own when a great team move gave him space to sprint clear and score. An out of breath Rory Drysdale added the conversion, 14-33. After the restart Ballymena were awarded a penalty which was added by Rory Drysdale, 14-36. With time running out Ballymena managed to add two more tries out wide from John Nicholl but both conversion was missed. The final score was 16-41 to the braid men. This wins sees them remain top in the ulster league table as well as sitting top in AIL 2A.
All at Ballymena RFC would like to wish all our supporters a very merry Christmas