Ballymoney RFC have been working hard in preseason since middle of July as they kick off their 2019-20 season with an away game to Academy RFC on Saturday 31st August.
Ballymoney RFC took to the pitch for their first friendly match on Saturday 10th August with friendly games against City of Derry. A 2nd XV squad hosted a City of Derry 2nd XV and in a close encounter Ballymoney won 24-22. Tries were scored by Ross Fallows, William Parkhill, Matthew Pollock and Michael Finnerty.
On the opposite pitch Ballymoney 1st XV hosted City of Derry 1st XV squad. The first 20 minutes was tied at 7-7 with a try by Martin Irwin for the home side. Changes and injury to a Ballymoney player resulted in a drop in concentration which COD capitalised on and scored 2 well worked trys out wide. Ballymoney settled down again in the 3rd 20 minutes and scored a try through Jordon Munnis. The last 20minutes was very competitive with COD scoring after several phases of attack. Ballymoney finished strongly attacking the visitors’ line but couldn’t break their defensive effort and the game finished 12-24 in favour of City of Derry.
Then the 1st XV took on a Ballyclare RFC 1st XV squad on Thursday 16th August at Kilraughts Road. The game started at a quick pace with a try from Ballymoney through Martin Irwin but this was quickly cancelled out with a forwards try from Ballyclare. Ballyclare then took the lead after a charge down landed in the arms of their outhalf who raced in under the posts.
It didn’t take long from Ballymoney to cancel the try out, this time through a charge down of their own, when John Hyndman blocked a kick and gathered to sprint in and draw the game at 12-12 after 30 minutes.
Ballymoney seemed to take control with the forwards starting to win the battle at the breakdown and giving good ball to the back line to attack. This resulted in space for Ballymoney to score 2 more trys through Ian Moxen and Jordon Munnis to bring the score to 26-12 with 20minutes to go. The last 20mintues Ballymoney took control through good work from their scum which saw them end the game with an excellently worked try from the training ground as John Hyndman ran in for his second and Ballymoney 5th try of the game for the home side to win 31-12.
The 2nd XV returned to action in preseason as they travelled to City of Derry to take part in the annual George Tees Cup which is a 15 aside tournament with City of Derry 2s, Coleraine 2s, UUC and Omagh taking part. Ballymoney 2nd XV won the group with as they came through the 4 games unbeaten. BRFC 10-5 UUC; BRFC 12-0 COD; BRFC 5-0 Omagh; BRFC 7-0 Coleraine. Ballymoney then faced hosts City of Derry in the final game and with fatigue setting in leading to mistakes City of Derry were able to use their larger squad to effect and the fresher legs were the difference as they piped Ballymoney 5-12 in the final. It wasn’t to be this year but this is the 4th year in a row Ballymoney has been in the final and had won the competition in 2017 and 2018.
A 1st XV squad used the break on Saturday to take to the training pitch to get in some final preparations as the club enters the last week of training before the start of the league on Saturday 31st August when they travel to Academy RFC in Belfast.
Ballymoney RFC is happy to welcome back the coaching team of James Cleland, Martin Irwin and Jonathan Hanna. Jason Taggart who returned to help the coaching team the past 3 season in defence and fitness has decided to hang up his boots after nearly 20 years coaching at senior level in the club. Like all of the Ballymoney stalwarts he will not be too far away on match day and will still make a guest appearance at training now and again!
The coaches commented “Preparations for the competitive season have been going well during preseason. There has been approximately 50 players at training with some new faces and a return of some past players to the club. A number of these have featured in the friendly games so far and have increased the intensity at training. On top of this Ballymoney is pleased to welcome a number of school leavers from Dalriada, Coleraine Grammer as well as players leaving U18s to step up to senior Rugby. The games against City of Derry and Ballyclare have been a good work out and the numbers at training are allowing a good level of contact so the guys seem to be in good shape. The 2nd XV are looking good as well as they build up to the start of their league on Saturday 13th September”.
The 3rd and 4th XV squads have started their training on Wednesday nights at 7.30pm which is ideal for any players new to rugby or who haven’t played the game in some time to come out and enjoy a very competitive game of touch rugby.
If you new to the area or want to join Ballymoney please feel free to come out to 1st/2nd XV training on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7.30pm.