Belfast High Schools FP 10 - Ballymoney 4ths 15
By Jimmy Speers
Fourths Grind out victory away to Belfast High School Former Pupils in the Premier League!
The River Ridge backed Ballymoney fourths recorded their second away win in the Premier league with a hard-fought victory away to Belfast High Schools Former Pupils. The weather and pitch conditions were good, as Ballymoney out-scored their opponents by three tries to one, with a typically physical display of hard, old fashioned forwards rugby.
Ballymoney dominated the early part of the game. The travelling pack building the phases, testing the home side defence line. Although they had most of the procession, Ballymoney struggled to turn the early pressure into points as they made mistakes or lost procession at crucial moments. Midway through the first period the sustained Ballymoney pressure eventually paid off when back row forward Aaron Ramage broke the High Schools defence line for the opening score. The remainder of the half was balanced. Ballymoney dominating territory, without being able to breach the resilient home defence line. High Schools did manage to reduce the deficit just before the half time break with a long-range penalty after a Ballymoney infringement. Half time score Belfast HSFP 3 - Ballymoney 5.
The second half saw Ballymoney again apply the early pressure. They were soon rewarded with a nice score after Davey Calvin released Chris Clarke with a lovely miss pass move for Chris to race clear and touch down in the corner. High Schools fought back and were rewarded with a try of their own midway through the second half, when their centre touched down below the posts. The conversion brought the score level. Ballymoney realised they had a battle on their hands and upped the tempo. Patience was required as High Schools defended their try line valiantly. Eventually the score came as High Schools succumbed to the relentless Ballymoney pressure. Johnny McAleese with the touch down after some pulsating work by the Ballymoney pack. Ballymoney did press on for the bonus point try, however it was not to be. As the final whistle sounded visitors content to take the win and four valuable league points. Final score Belfast HSFP 10 - Ballymoney 15
Team Manager Cormac Ramage commented after the game. “I am reasonably pleased with our performance today; we played some nice rugby today in periods, however at time we lacked the finishing touch. Happy that we that we showed the determination in the second half to grind out the victory, despite High Schools levelling the scores mid-way through the second half. Each team member played their part. The forwards dominated procession however were prevented from setting the platform as the home team continually infringed which made presenting the half backs with fast, clean ball very difficult. I am pleased with the character we showed to claim the win”
Although numerous players had strong displays during the game, including Aaron Ramage and Lyle Morrison. The man of the match award went to Johnny McAleese. The second row forward bossed the game, from acrobatic collection of restarts to rampaging line breaks. Johnny was rewarded with a fine try for his efforts.
The fourths Premier league campaign continues next Saturday when they welcome Grosvenor 3rds to Kilraughts Road.