Two years ago in the same competition Coleraine ousted Ballymena with the last kick of the game, a penalty by David Andrews. to win by 9 points to 6. In a tense game at Lodge Road on Saturday Ballymena 2nd XV turned the tables on their local rivals, winning this second round Junior Cup game by 19 points to 17, with Rory Drysdale converting his own try, scored in the third minute of injury time, to overturn Coleraine’s five point lead and put his team two point clear, as the referee’s whistle blew to signal the end of the game.
In good playing conditions Ballymena started strongly, clearly showing their intention to spread the ball wide, and in the third minute created space on the right for Drysdale to put right wing Jonny McMullan in for the first try of the game. In the tenth minute came a repeat performance on the left wing, with Coleraine again defending too narrowly, to let winger Rosborough in for an excellent try, to put Ballymena 12-0 ahead. At that stage it looked as if Ballymena were going to run up a big score, but Coleraine had other ideas, and their heavier pack began to take control of the game. Their efforts rewarded with a try, which Andrews converted, to leave the half time score 12-7 in Ballymena’s favour.
The first part of the second half largely belonged to Ballymena, who kept Coleraine pinned in their own half for long periods. They continued to move the ball through the backs and created scoring opportunities, but Coleraine defended well and prevented any further Ballymena tries, with only a hand trip preventing Rosborough going in for his second try. the Coleraine pack came back into the game and began to drive Ballymena back time and time again, and when they were awarded a penalty for a Ballymena indiscretion Andrews converted to make the score 12-10. From the kick off Ballymena attacked again and a penalty gave them a chance for a catch and drive, but the throw was crooked and Coleraine cleared their lines.
With ten minutes to go, and the Ballymena pack reduced to seven men, Coleraine were awarded a scrum five metres out and drove the Ballymena pack across the line for a pushover try, which Andrews again converted, making the score 17-12 with time running out. But this is a very determined Ballymena side, and they attacked the Coleraine line, but again were thwarted by a stubborn Coleraine defence. After forty minutes they were still plugging away, and forced Coleraine into conceding a series of penalties. In the third minute of injury time, another infringement by Coleraine gave Ballymena penalty seven metres out in front od the posts. While Coleraine were still gathering their thoughts, Drysdale took a quick tap and ran in unopposed between the posts. He converted his own try to make the score 19-17 and give Ballymena what at one stage looked a very unlikely Cup win. That conversion was the last kick of the game and the referee blew the whistle for full time.