Ballymoney 4ths 10 - 10 Enniskillen3rds
By Jimmy Speers
Honours even after top of the table Premier League clash
The River Ridge backed Ballymoney fourths entertained league leaders Enniskillen for a top of the table clash. The big games just keep coming for this Ballymoney side, with Enniskillen the current league leaders, returning to Kilraughts Road two weeks after a hard-fought and bruising encounter with their County Antrim rivals in the McCambley Cup semi-final.
Weather conditions were good as Ballymoney kicked off with the wind blowing in their favour for opening half. Enniskillen started strongly. Their lineout was working well with the pack also providing solid, go forward platforms for the Enniskillen back line. Ballymoney defended the early onslaught resolutely keeping the visitors off the scoresheet. As the first half progressed, the home side began to find their stride and create chances of their own. Sam Bartlett rewarded the efforts with a try after some good work by the forwards. Half time score Ballymoney 5 Enniskillen 0.
Enniskillen started the second half strongly as they attempted to force their way back into the game. Ballymoney upped the tempo and were unlucky not to extend their lead. Sam McAuley, inches short of the try-line, following some last-ditch Enniskillen defence. Enniskillen were encouraged when rewarded with a converted try with fifteen minutes to play. The visitors back row forward forcing his way over the line following a line out deep inside the Ballymoney half. Enniskillen extended their narrow lead soon after with a penalty goal as they continued the momentum of second half pressure. Ballymoney, knowing time was against them, upped the tempo for the final period of the match. After multiple surging phases, Ballymoney gradually progressed deep into the Enniskillen half. With the Enniskillen defence on the back-foot Ryan Brace released a backline move, Rory Strang capitalised to the full when he beat his opposite man to cross the white line to leave the scores level, ten points each. Ryan Brace had the conversion to win to game, however his kick narrowly escaped the uprights and the final whistle sounded. Final Score Ballymoney 10 Enniskillen 10
Team Coach, Cormac Ramage commented after the game. “That was a good performance. Enniskillen made us work very hard for our chances today, however when our they came, we executed them well. The defensive effort in the was resolute, some great performances today by all, but especially by the forwards. We matched the much larger Enniskillen pack up front and effort was deservedly rewarded at the end. It was always going to be a tough match, a draw probably the fair result”. The Man of the match however goes to Rory Strang, the full back was solid in defence proved a constant threat throughout the game, concluding in the final minutes with a lovely try.
The fourth XV now look ahead to next weekend’s cup final against Dromore 3rds K.O 12.30pm.