The JKC BMW sponsored Ballymoney RFC entertained neighbours Limavady RFC at home on Saturday in the last league game of the year.
In a high scoring game Ballymoney claimed a bonus point with a 45-12 win.
The forwards were unchanged from last week but with injury to player coach James Cleland and unavailability to Matthew Bell and Thomas Hunter saw Simon McCrea and Neil Johnson start on the wings with Andy Young moving to Fullback. Aaron Brown returned to second centre where he had performed well against UUC in that positon.
Although there was snow laying on the pitch the ground was soft so the game went ahead. There was a large support with 100 people attending the pre-match lunch and many of them feared the cold weather and snowy conditions would lead to a dull affair. The game couldn’t have been more different with the young Limavady team starting fast, moving the ball well and caught Ballymoney sleeping with some sloppy defence. This allowed their centre to break a tackle 10 metres out and stroll in for the first converted try.
Again some Ballymoney mistakes in defence allowed Limavady to gain territory and after some good phases they were awarded a penalty which they kicked to the corner. The catch and drive was successful and they notched up another try although this time unconverted. The lead was now 0-12 with 10 minutes played.
Ballymoney then reclaimed the kick off and went on the attack. After repeated driven lineouts they were held up short but quick ball to second row James Bleakly saw him use his quick feet to beat his opposite defender to dive over for the home team’s first score. Rory Strang missed the kick but Ballymoney were now on the scoreboard at 5-12.
Ballymoney were on the score board again as they were now starting to stamp their authority in the scrum and the defensive play. However it was some good play in attack with first a line break by hooker Peter Irvine took the ball to the try line. The pass from Matthew Steel to outhalf Rory Strang cut out the Limavady defence and Rory used his pace and strength to carve the defence and score below the posts. The scores were now level at 12-12.
The third Ballymoney try came on the 30 mintue mark when again some strong running from Ian Moxen, John McFetridge and Daniel Ramage took play close to the try line. An inside ball from Martin Irwin found fullback Andy Young whose line beat the drift defence to stride in under the posts. Rory Strang added the extra points to give the home side the lead for the first time at 19-12.
The half ended with Limavady putting massive pressure on the Ballymoney try line with phase after phase of attack but the stern toon defence stood firm with Ramage creating the turnover allowing Ballymoney to clear their lines for the end of the half and a turning point of the game.
The first points of the second half were to be important and it was Ballymoney who took them after some storming powerful runs took play 5metres out.
From a penalty Ballymoney opted for the scrum and with some great work from Blair, Irvine and Brown the pack drove over for Captain McFetridge to touch down. The kick from Rory Strang was successful and Ballymoney not only extended the lead but now had the bonus point in the bank and led 26-12.
The rest of the second half was all Ballymoney as Limavady struggled to cope with the pace of the home teams play and the strong running from both forwards and backs.
Great breaks from Bleakly and Irvine were both finished off by Matthew Blair for two trys for the loose head prop. Rory Strang also completed his brace and scored the try of the game when the Outhalf found space on half way and rounded the Limavady defence to score in the corner. Rory also added another 2 conversions to cap off a man of the match performance and a personal tally of 20 points.
Maine Gym Man of the Match: Rory Strang