Ballymoney III XV 27 – 17 Instonians III XV
Ballymoney put Instonians to the sword
by Neil Campbell
Ballymoney put Instonians to the sword.
Ballymoney looked to put last week’s disappointment of only managing a draw with their neighbours Coleraine behind them. This week they faced Instonians looking to avenge the poor performance earlier in the season going down 50-12. With strong words from the captain Ballymoney took to the field looking for more of the control and aggression from last week but found they were a little off the pace with the early running coming from a strong Instonians side. After some poor defence from Ballymoney, Instonians where awarded a penalty converted by the 12. Going behind seemed to spark a little life into the Ballymoney pack who started to attack the ruck area, giving Russell the chance to level the score with a long range penalty. The next score again went to Instonians after some weak tackling from Ballymoney, something we thought had become a thing of the past, allowed Instonians in for the first try of the day. The conversion was missed by the 12. The score now 3-8.
Instonians now with their tails up looked to push on but Ballymoney as a team had other thoughts. The pack started to dominate the ruck area with some great steals from hooker Joel and second row Holmes, both having stand out games again this week. All the play started to be dominated by the Toon with the half back pairing controlling the game. From broken play the speedster Chris cut a lovely line taking several Instonians players with him before leaving them for dust to score the Toon’s first try. Converted by Russell the score now 10-8. Despite lots of pressure from the Toon that was the final score of the first half.
The half time team talk was all positive with Neil, Dean and Toss all giving their input. The team manager John Campbell added the next 10 minutes will decide the game and as a team we must want the ball more.
With all the advice ringing in their ears, the Ballymoney men started as they finished the first putting lots of pressure on the Instonians line, but that last pass wouldn’t stick. Again the half back pairing controlled the game and the next try of the game can from them. After quick ruck ball Matthew feed the out half Kyle who drifted wide before off loading back inside to Campbell who cut a hard line spitting the defence before racing away to score below the posted. Unfortunately the conversion was missed by Russell the score now 15-8. On the way back a few of the forwards commented they would all hear about that try for a while, agreed by the writer and scorer Campbell. Hope you all enjoy reading about it.
With their tails now up Ballymoney went for the kill, again going close but frustrated on a number of occasions. Instonians were happy to get the ball away anyway they could and on many occasions kicked to touch. From one of these, a great lineout taken by Joel was driven by the pack and veteran Toss at the back broke off and when he was pulled down short tried to crawl to the line. Try disallowed much to Toss’s dismay. It was more like 3 or 4 movements rather than the ref’s call of double movement and penalty to Instonians. With Instonians now just hanging on the watching supported did have to wait long for the next score. Hard work in the middle of the park before great hands for a change resulted in the ball being feed to the ever busy Joel who scored his second try of the season, well deserved: the conversion was missed 20-8. From the kick off Ballymoney went on the attack. With some strong running from captain Dean breaking many tackles and causing all sorts of havoc in the middle of the park, leaving men in his wake. After several phases the ball was feed wide finding young Joel now on the wing scoring his second try of the game, this time Russell successfully converted leaving the score 27-8.
Ballymoney refused to take the foot of the gas but some poor passing caused the ball to be dropped resulting in a kick chase leading to a try being conceded. With the resulting conversion the score now 27-15. The Ballymoney players felt aggrieved as they felt they got there first. Not wanting to be outdone from the kick off the Toon went back on the attack will the ball being chipped ahead by full back Russell, the speed man Chris chased and touched down for the referee to say ‘no’ the ball crossed the dead ball for a 22. A ruling not easily accepted by Ballymoney, but as we all know, once a ref has made his decision right or wrong he isn’t going to change his mind. The only result now was a penalty for Instonians again allowing them to clear their lines.
Again the next score went to Instonians not from great play from them but poor control of the ball from Ballymoney. Loose ball again allowed Instonians to race away to score out wide but with the conversion missed, the score now 27-20. With 10 minutes left Instonians found a new lease of life and looked to try and steal a win, but the Toon defence was now back on form and refused to let them pass, driving them back on a number of occasions and turning ball over only to be penalized.
With no further score Ballymoney left the field happy but knew they left a few more scores out there. Captain and vice-captain in their after match team talk praised the lads for their effort and all round play.
Dean commented we have finally turned that corner, now bring on the first round of the cup next week. Another night of hard training is still required on Wednesday.
Man of the match Joel Heggarty, with special mention to Dean Talbot & Chris Morrison for impressive performances as well.