Ballymoney 2XV knock out Champions
By Matthew Dunlop
Ballymoney 2XV defeat Ballynahinch in the first round of the Crawford Cup.
On Saturday, Ballymoney 2XV took on defending champions, Ballynahinch, in the first round of the Crawford Cup. Buoyant from their hard fought league victory last weekend, the home side came out with calm heads and a simple game plan for the difficult wet conditions.
However, it was the visitors that got off the mark first in a clever attack. Having drawn in the Ballymoney pack, the Hinch number 10 put in an accurate cross field kick which was well gathered by the on rushing wing, who ran in uncontested for a converted try.
Ballymoney didn’t take long to hit back, and found themselves with a scrum 15 metres from the opposition line. From here, the Ballymoney pack showed their quality, driving the the opposition 8 back just shy of the 5 metre line, with David Holmes doing well to control the ball at the back. Having secured a penalty from the scrum pressure, Ballymoney opted for the set piece again. Once again, scrum dominance, with Peter Irvine, Joel Hegarty and Andrew Brown leading the charge in the front row, allowed Holmes to power over for the score. Andrew Young was successful with the conversion, and followed it up with a penalty a few minutes later.
The two sides went on to exchange another try each before the break. Ballynahinch breaking through the midfield after some sustained pressure, before back row forward Micheal Allen slid in the corner after a powerful run down the wing from the 22, after a smart switch in play by Andrew Young.
Half time score, Ballymoney 15- 14 Ballynahinch.
The second half became a real battle, with both teams falling foul the official’s interesting interpretation of the contact area. The score remained the same for the next 25 minutes before another solid scrum presented a strong platform for Ballymoney. Jordan Munnis picked from the base, beating a defender and releasing Adam Hodges to dart in the corner. An excellent conversion from the touchline by Young gave a huge boost to the team, as they pushed ahead by 8 points.
Some nerves showed in the final 10 minutes, with a few loose kicks providing the visitors with further opportunities to get themselves back in the game - opportunities which proved unfruitful in the end, as a tight defensive display prevented any breakthrough for Hinch.
Final score, Ballymoney 2XV 22 - 14 Ballynahinch 3XV.