Ballymoney suffer first loss of league campaign at Newry

Thursday, 2 February 2017

BALLYMONEY'S unbeaten league run came to an end on Saturday when they suffered a 17-13 defeat away to Newry.
Ballymoney travelled to Newry missing Young, Blair, Bleakly and Nevin but in their absence gave Munnis and Morrison their first call up to the 1st XV this season. Due to the 1st XV pitch being unplayable Ballymoney kicked off on Newry's lower pitch. This suited the larger, more physical home team as it made it difficult to get pace onto the ball. It also meant that the team who took their chances on the day would win the game - and that is exactly how it played out.
The visitors controlled the early exchanges but a charge down from an attacking kick from Cleland lead to a foot race between the Ballymoney and Newry wings. With confusion in defence Cleland was able to get back to recover but he was adjudged to kill the ball, giving Newry the first chance of points from the penalty. Newry converted to lead three-nil.
The conditions lead to the ball being slow at the rucks with this resulting in a number of scrums in the middle of the pitch. Two attacks on the Newry line were stopped illegally and Ballymoney's James Cleland kicked both penalties to give Ballymoney a three-six lead after the opening fifteen mintues.
From the kick-off Newry competed in the air and won the back. A missed tackle allowed the Newry forward to carry to the line forcing Ballymoney to defend several phases of Newry attack from forwards picking and going for the line. The pressure finally paid off when the Newry second row crashed over. A successful conversion made it ten-six at the break.


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