Ballymoney Pile on the Points vs Depleated Malone
By Matthew Dunlop
On Saturday, JKC sponsored Ballymoney 1st XV entertained Malone 2nd XV in the conference league.
On Saturday, JKC sponsored Ballymoney 1st XV entertained Malone 2nd XV in the conference league, looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season. With injuries and unavailabilities, the coaching team made a few changes giving a few the chance to stake a claim for a starting berth over the next few weeks. In the pack, ex Dalriad William Allen made his first competitive start of the season, coming in for Matthew Blair who dropped to the bench. Matthew Dunlop started at 9 for the injured Steele, Young moved to 10 and Watson joined forces with Ross Fallows in midfield.
A large crowd assembled at Kilraughts Road, eager to see a repeat of last season’s fixture where the Toon defeated a very talented and physical Malone team. Prior to kick off it had materialised that Malone could only field with 13 players with a number of cry offs, very disappointing considering the size of a senior club like Malone.
Although down two players, the Malone pack were quite a physical group and rumbled at the Ballymoney side from the off. The coaches had drilled into the home team not to get into an arm wrestle with the pack but to distribute the ball well and stretch the visitors as much as possible.
After 15 minutes, centre Chris Watson opened the scoring with Young adding the conversion.
Undeterred, the big Malone forwards rumbled up the park and scored a try of their own soon afterwards, again converting to level the score.
An injury to lock Russell Blair saw Jordan Munnis enter the fray and before long added his name to the score sheet as he finished off wave after wave of pressure on the Malone line crashing over the line to get his first try of the season. This was converted by Young.
Straight from the kick off, the Toon pack drove back at the visitors, pulling in their defence before whipping it wide to wing Mike Armstrong who touched down in the corner. Andrew Young then infringed at a breakdown and the ref then reduced the home side to 14 for 10 minutes although moments later foul play from a Malone wing forward reduced them to 12! During this period Ballymoney scored a further 3 tries from Fallows , Skipper McKeeman & Dan Ramage with Armstrong converting, leaving the half time score 41-7.
Seccond half started as the first finished, with Ballymoney using the extra men to their advantage and scored an extra 3 tries, with Fallows and two from Hunter, all converted by Young. The referee decided on 60 minutes that Malone had had enough and blew up early, leaving a final score of 61-7.
Afterwards the coaching team stated that it had been a good run out , giving several players much needed game time with a vital away trip to Lurgan next Saturday. “Although pleased with the result , we were disappointed that Malone could only bring 13 players , especially after crying off their 3rds game with our 2nd XV. It was good to get players like Munnis and Ross Fallows game time as well as being able to rest a few players who are carrying a few knocks, especially so early in the season. We have a good strong squad and we will need all our players to be training regularly and putting pressure on everyone at training. We travel to Lurgan next week and a big weeks training is needed to maintain the level of intensity needed to be successful.“