Ballymena vs

September 27, 2015
Score: 35 - 24

Match Report

Ballymena kicked off in perfect conditions and scored what must be the quickest try of the season, putting five points on the board inside 24 seconds. Trinity failed failed to deal with the kickoff and the ball bounced up into the hands of David Whann who moved it immediately to Matthew Rea who made ground and released the ball to the backs. The slick handling which has been a feature of Ballymena’s game created space for Patterson to score an unconverted try wide out on the left. That setback seemed to energise Trinity, because for the next 15 minutes they enjoyed almost complete possession of the ball and mounted   a series of attacks on the home line. The other strong feature of Ballymena’s game has been a stubborn defence and it held out again against some determined running by both backs and forwards. If they were disappointed at having conceded conceded an early try, Trinity must have been furious when John Andrew intercepted a pass and ran fifty metres to score a try which was very much against the run of play at that stage. McMaster failed to convert from wide out on the left, but on twenty eight minutes he kicked a penalty to give his side a thirteen point lead. Ballymena went further ahead when they were awarded a penalty and opted to kick for the corner. David Whann made a great catch and the pack set up the drive which Trinity could not stem, the try coming when Connor Smyth peeled off the back of the maul and brushed aside the last of the defence to cross half way out on the right, leaving McMaster with a fairly straight forward conversion.

With the score now at 20-0 Ballymena appeared to be coasting, but they were served a sharp reminder of Trinity’s attacking potential when scrum half Angus Lloyd took a quick tap from a penalty and scored a very fine individual try, which was not converted. That brought the score to 20-5 which was how it stayed until half time.

The second half began with the Ballymena pack getting the better of the exchanges, setting a number of attacks which Trinity were having difficulty in dealing with. Their attempts to stop the opposition resulted in a yellow card for the No5 Raef Tyrell after six minutes of the half and Ballymena were quick to take advantage with a try by James Beattie in the right corner after good work by the pack. The conversion was missed, but that hardly mattered as Ballymena had already picked up a four try bonus point and were enjoying a comfortable lead, which McMaster added to with a second penalty to put Ballymena 28-5 ahead.  But once again they were reminded of the threat that Trinity posed, when a clean break in midfield sent full back Kearns in at the post for a try which he converted himself to close the gap to 28-12.  The home side responded to this in the best possible way by scoring a try almost straight from the kick off which for the second time in the game Trinity failed to control. Ballymena seized on the loose ball, moved it quickly and Rodger McBurney came into the line a speed to score a trademark try, which centre Kieran Joyce, making an impressive debut, converted. With the score now at 33-12 and ten minutes to go the game was effectively won, but once again Trinity showed their impressive attacking credentials by running in two excellent tries, through Lavelle and Maupin, one of which was converted to leave the final score 35-24.

So after three games Ballymena have garnered fourteen points out of a possible fifteen, but that only leaves them second in the table behind high flying Old Wesley who have maximum points. In third place is St Mary’s on ten points with a game in hand Ballymena’s next game is on Saturday in Limerick against Shannon.  They have made a less than impressive start to the season, but they have a proud tradition which Ballymena will respect.