Toon suffer defeat away to Town
The JKC BMW sponsored Ballymoney 1st XV suffered their first defeat of the season away to Randalstown on Saturday with the home side gaining a winning bonus point in the 35-13 victory.
Ballymoney had a few changes to the team that beat Limavady in the Junior cup the previous week, with Andy Brown
coming in for Adam Pollock who was unavailable and Nathanial Steele coming in for Aaron Brown who picked up a knock in the U20s game on Wednesday night.
Ballymoney started well and gathered the Randalstown kick off and put siege to the home teams try line. A penalty was awarded to Ballymoney and they kicked to the corner. Good defence from Randalstown held out the visitor’s attack. Another penalty was awarded to Ballymoney and this time James Cleland
took the 3 points to give Ballymoney a 0-3 lead with 5 minutes played.
Ballymoney keep play inside the Randalstown half and a kick through was well chased and the Randalstown fullback was pushed into touch. An attack from the line out was stopped again by a penalty to Ballymoney. James Cleland
added another 3 points to extend the lead to 0-6.
The kick off from Randalstown went out on the full and from the scrum restart Ballymoney were awarded another penalty. James Cleland
who was in good kicking form of late stepped up to take on the penalty from half way but the ball struck the crossbar and the Randalstown 12 made a good break to clear the danger.
Ballymoney were still on the front foot and on 20 minutes were short with another long-range penalty.
The miss seems to spur on Randalstown and some slack defending from Ballymoney allowed them to break from just inside the visitors half. The ball was moved well and Randalstown flanker went in for the 1st try against the run of day. It was converted to give the home side the lead 7-6.
Poor defending and ill-discipline was to the be the key issues for Ballymoney as any attack was turned over too easily by Randlestown and any Randalstown attack seemed to lead to a penalty after 2 phases. From two long range efforts the Randalstown outhalf showed off his kicking skill to give the home side the lead 13-6 at half time.
The second half kicked off with many Ballymoney infringements and they were lucky not to have a player going to the sin bin. Randalstown capitalised with another penalty to extend their lead to 16-6.
Ballymoney did put in one good passage of attack and put real pressure on the home teams line, but excellent defence lead to a knock on by Ballymoney. Again, a penalty from the scrum lead to Randalstown clearing their lines.
This was the last real pressure Ballymoney put on the game as a long kick form their 22 by Randallstown was adjudged to have touch a Ballymoney hand and it was then touched down in the in-goal area for a Randallstown scrum. Ballymoney did turnover the scrum and clear the ball but from the field position the Randallstown 10 jinked his way through the defensive line to score a try and push Randalstown out in front 23-6.
More ill-discipline did result in a yellow card for a Ballymoney player and when down to 14 men Randalstown exploited a gap in the defence for another try.
Ballymoney did score a break away try from half way when second row Allan showed some good pace to race clear and score below the posts. But any thought of a late comeback was ended and Randalstown own second row was put in for a try to end the game at 35-13.
Team: Irvine, Blair, Brown, Allan, Bleakly, Ramage, McFetridge ©, McKeeman, Steele, Strang, Steele, Irwin, Hunter, Watson, Cleland, Moxen, Bell.
Coaches comments, after the game coaches Cleland, Irwin and Hanna all stated “We are very disappointed today on how we faded away during the match. We were still in game with 25 minutes to go at 16-6 but didn’t push on. Silly mistakes in defence caused either tries or penalties and this needs to be addressed with harder work rate from the players off the ball. Randalstown were well organised and in the second half looked clearly if they wanted it more than us. It gives us now plenty to work on during this week at training so we can hopefully come out with a stronger performance against Ards at home on Saturday. There was a great travelling support today and hopefully we can all give them a better game to watch next week”.