Ballynahich RFC Reports And Club Notes For 28 September

Ballynahinch 2 24 Instonians 24. Conference League Section 1. James Kirk reports.

Ballynahinch 2 24 Instonians 24.

Conference League Section 1.

James Kirk reports.

Instonians brought their 100% winning record to a sun drenched Ballymacarn Park on Saturday and were given a fright by a rapidly improving Ballynahinch 2nd XV. In a game strewn with penalties at the breakdown the locals will think that better discipline and game management could have brought them victory.

Coach Davy Harris gave a debut to Tagen Strydom in midfield and veteran Matthew Norton stepped in at 10 to cover the absence of James McBriar. A strong looking pack was anchored by Ignacio Crespo with Stuart Evans and Andrew Foster bringing plenty of physicality and Tom Martin full of running at openside.

Andrew Foster Eyes up his opponent. (Photos courtesy John Dickson.)

The home side took an early lead with a fine try from full back Adam Gowdy but allowed Instonians a foothold deep in home territory by giving away a succession of penalties. Strong defence from Evans and Eamon McAnulty kept the opposition out but eventually they ran out of numbers and conceded a close range score to leave the game evenly poised at 7 points all.

A fine piece of tactical kicking from Norton gained excellent field position for his side and they responded with some hard carrying towards the Instonian posts. The ball was recycled for Matt Connolly to crash over and regain the lead. This was closely followed by a well struck Norton penalty to take the lead to ten points.

Matthew Connolly breaks clear.

Instonians were being forced into handling errors by strong home defence but were given a path back into the game by some poor discipline from the home side. Under pressure in their own 22 Ballynahinch failed to clear their lines and invited more pressure on an already stretched defence leading to another close range score from the league leaders as the game approached half time.

However, there was still time for Foster to make a strong carry in the middle of the park and gain some excellent quick ball for his team which eventually saw Gowdy pick another great line for a converted try and a 24-12 half time lead.

The second half would prove to be a stop-start affair as both sides were guilty of holding on at the breakdown. However, Instonians clearly upped the tempo and their scrum-half was a constant threat as he attacked the blindsdide at every opportunity. It became something of a backs to the wall affair for Ballynahinch as despite some fine defence and clearance kicking they kept turning the ball over and inviting more pressure on themselves.

Tagen Strydom makes his presence felt.

Their defence was impressive and a clear step up in physicality and attitude will have impressed Harris and team manager Andy Glenn. Instonians domination closed the gap to 24-17 after a quick tap on half way allowed them to get behind the home side and despite weathering the storm for the next ten minutes another score tied things up with under ten minutes to go.

The Belfast outfit were strong favourites for the win at that point but Ballynahinch fought their way upfield and despite being unable to earn the winning score they were able to see out the draw and a creditable result against a team in red hot form. They have a well earned break this weekend before another tough five week block of fixtures starts with a trip to CIYMS.

Ballynahinch 1-17: I Crespo, C Piper, H Simpson, M Connolly, S Evans, T Martin, D Cooper, A Foster, R Meharg, M Norton, M Heath, E McAnulty, T Strydom, C Phillips, A Gowdy, J Dickson, J Martin.


Ballynahinch Women 41 Cooke Women 2 17

Jane Patton reports.

Ballynahinch opened their league campaign at home in blustery conditions against Cooke 2. This is a relatively new and inexperienced group of players with Nicola Patterson, Jenny King and Rachel McIlhone making their first appearances. Sarah Simms and assistants Johnny Kirk and David Martin have been working hard over the summer to gel the squad and have been encouraged by the commitment of the squad with excellent turnout at training and a great buzz around the team.

The game started as an even contest until scrum half Avril Gibson launched a back move which saw Jemima Johnson make a break and go over in the corner for the opening score.

Great work from the home pack saw outhalf and skipper Jane Patton receive the ball in space to speed through for a try which she converted herself to take the lead out to 12 points.

Cooke gained a foothold in the game and despite some strong local defence they scored in the corner to open their account. Ballynahinch did not allow them to build any momentum and prop Niamh Gilgunn secured great field postion with a great solo break.

This was followed by strong collective work from the forwards leading to a close range score and a 17-5 lead as half time approached. Cooke scored just before the break to close the gap again but Ballynahinch went into the second half knowing that they were more than a match for their opponents.

Gilgunn scored a converted try early in the second half to give the home team a fourteen point cushion and there followed a very physical ten minutes with both teams upping the tempo. Having weathered the best that Cooke could throw at them Ballynahinch then set about winning the game.

Gibson and Johnson combined again for a second try from the centre and a great Patton kick allowed Johnson to execute a perfect two on one move and put her veteran midfield partner Rachel Morton under the posts for a match clinching 36-10 lead with 20 minutes to go.

Cooke inevitably fought back and scored under the posts to give themselves the chance of a bonus point. However a superb steal and offload deep in her own territory by full back Niamh Mclean allowed replacement winger Paula McKay to brilliantly clear her lines with a superb kick pushing Cooke all the way back into their own 22. Johnson then capped a fine personal performance with her third and the teams seventh try right on the full time whistle to leave the final score 41-17.

This was a strong physical test to start the season and Simms will be delighted with how her team fronted up across the park. They go to Queens for another tough test next week full of confidence that they more than belong at this level. All support welcome at the Dub.

Ballynahinch 1-19: N Gilgunn, R McIlhone, A Brady, N Forsythe, D Gilgunn, S Shaw, N Phillips, A Gracey, A Gibson, J Patton (Capt), R Burrows, R Morton, J Johnson, L McEvoy, N McLean, N Patterson, P McKay, R Cuthbertson, J King.


Ballynahinch U14s Draw With Malone

Malone U14 24 Ballynahinch U14 24.

Colin Donaldson reports,

The U14s opened their league campaign with a dramatic comeback against a bigger and more experienced Malone side. The Ballynahinch outfit is largely in their first season at this level and the step up in physicality as well as unavailability of some players was a factor as they conceded four first half tries to trail 24-0 at half time.

Dylan McMullan started the fightback with a well-taken score and Ballynahinch were full of running in the second half as Malone tired. Further score from Sam Hamilton and Kevin Rogan followed as the locals went into the final moments trailing by just seven points.

It was all Ballynahinch at this stage with their fitness training under Mark Williams really starting to make an impact and they were rewarded with a Lewis Connolly try in the final seconds. Joshua Woods showed nerves of steel to nail the conversion with the last kick of the match and earn his side a draw.

This was a great start to the season for the U14s with their spirit and togetherness as impressive as the enterprising brand of rugby they play. They now have an idea of the step up in physicality required against the more experienced teams and will be full of confidence for the rest of the competition.

Ballynahinch RFC Rugby Round-up – 25/09/2021

Club Notes

It was another positive weekend for the Senior squad with the 1stXV comfortably beating derby rivals Banbridge by 43-8 and the 2nd XV continuing their improvement with a creditable draw vs Instonians. The real business of the season starts this weekend with a trip to Limerick to face Young Munster in the opening round of the AIL. All teams are a little in the dark about where they stand after 18 months out of AIL rugby. All will be revealed on Saturday! 

Ballynahinch Women opened their campaign in the revamped Women’s Championship with a sensational home victory over league favourites Cooke 2. They lead 17-12 at the break and pulled away in the second half to win by 41 points to 17. They scored a total of seven tries in the process and will travel to Queens 2 next weekend full of confidence.

Andy Simpson and his 3rd XV clearly learned a lesson from their narrow defeat to Ballyclare last weekend and refused to allow Harlequins 2s a foothold in the match on the bottom pitch at Ballymacarn Park. Jonny Cullen, nearing his 40th birthday, pulled the strings in midfield and Dick McKelvey was a constant nuisance in defence and attack as they eased to a seven try victory with Mike Carson crossing for a brace. Harlequins failed to cross the home tryline with the final score 45-6.

The fifths opened their campaign with a trip to Lisburn 3s and despite being competitive throughout the match and scores for Davy Maguire and Corey Davey they eventually lost 18-12. However, a few old heads resurfaced and the side will look forward to the rest of the campaign.

The U14s almost pulled off an amazing comeback but had to settle for a draw after scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half. Youth fixtures continue this weekend at home to Instonians.

Youth Training continues with U12/U14 at 7pm on Monday and U16/U18 at 7pm on Wednesday. All players welcome and no experience necessary. Contact Michael Preston for details on 07702050192.

Mini rugby continues on Saturday mornings from 9.30-11am. Boys and girls from P1 – Yr8 are all welcome, with training run for each age group in their school year. Mini rugby news is posted weekly on the club Facebook page – For more details contact David Martin – Mini Convenor on 07837944892 or email

Details of how to purchase tickets for the First XV matches and a full selection of Hinch merchandise can be found on our social media outlets and on the club app.

Results 25/09/2021

Banbridge 8 Ballynahinch 43 (Ulster Premiership)

Ballynahinch 2 24 Instonians 24 (Conference League)

Ballynahinch 3 45 Harlequins 2  6 (Provincial Premier 1)

Lisburn 3 18 Ballynahinch 5 12 (Regional South)

Ballynahinch Women 41 Cooke 2 17 (Championship)

Malone U14 24 Ballynahinch U14 24

Fixtures 02/10/2021

Young Munster vs Ballynahinch (AIL 1A)

Grosvenor 2 vs Ballynahinch 3 (Provincial Premier 1)

Ballynahinch 4 vs Cooke 2

Ballynahinch 5 vs Dromore 3 (Regional South)

Ballynahinch U14 vs Instonians (Regional East)

Ballynahinch U18  vs Instonians (Regional East)


Queens Women 2 vs Ballynahinch Women (Championship)