Ballymena Seconds, representing Ballymena in the Towns Cup, made the short journey to Larne to play their second round tie, having knocked out Dungannon in the first round. This was their fifth away cup match of the season, so fingers are crossed that the draw for the next round of this competition may be a bit kinder.
Larne are currently a Division 3 Qualifying League side, enjoying a reasonably successful season, and for the first fifteen minutes of the game thwarted all Ballymena’s efforts to get on the scoreboard. But from a scrum the ball was moved quickly to left wing Jonny Rosborough, who rounded his opposite number to outpace the cover and score a good try half way out on the left, which was converted by Tim Small, who shortly after kicked a penalty to open up a ten point lead. Any complacency Ballymena may have felt was dispelled when the Larne left wing shook off a number of ineffectual tackles to run fifty metres and score between the posts. The simple conversion made the score 10-7, and the only improvement to Ballymena’s tally before half time was another Small penalty.
The second half was a totally different story as the efforts that the Larne players had mad in keeping Ballymena out took their toll, when the pace and fitness of the visitors proved too much, and Larne conceded six tries, all of which were converted by Small. Minutes after the restart Jonny Rosborough was given a scoring pass by Small, and shortly afterwards Chris Smyth picked up the ball from a line out drive and found his way to the line. David Whann showed his pace and his skill to score another long range try, after a midfield burst by Alan Smyth good handling put James Beattie in for a try. The Conversions by Small brought the score at that point to 41-7, but the impetus was slowed momentarily when a long floated pass was intercepted by the Larne centre who ran most of the length of the field to score a converted try. That may have cheered up the Larne support, but it was a short respite as Ballymena scored a further fourteen points through tries by James Beattie and Adam McBurney and two more conversions by Small.
A convincing win, but if this team is to make further progress against the good sides left in the quarter final draw, it will have to reduce the number of basic errors that it made, which fortunately on the day Larne could not exploit.
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