Ballynahinch 2s On Top Form Against Carrickfergus

Junior Cup first round. Final Score: Ballynahinch 2s 46 Carrickfergus 8

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Junior Cup first round.

Final Score: Ballynahinch 2s 46 Carrickfergus 8

Ballynahinch 2s were almost at full strength for the visit of Carrickfergus on Saturday in the Junior Cup writes Davy Harris.

Gareth Gill returned to a heavy duty back row with Andrew Foster and Keith Dickson while the front row of John Dickson, Kelvin Hamilton and Harry McCormick combined power and handling ability.

In the backs, Conor Gibson filled in at nine with James McBriar pulling the strings at outhalf and Ben McMullan adding pace at full-back in the absence of Adam Gowdy.

Paddy Browne knocks over a penalty.

Carrick had the wind advantage in the first half and the game was evenly matched with the away side full of energy in the opening exchanges. Inexperienced with Ballymacarn Park conditions they perhaps didn’t use the wind as well as they could have.

They also missed a few very kickable penalties which cost them as a Gareth Gill try on half time after a multi-phase siege on the Carrick line added to Ben McMullan’s early score gave Ballynahinch a 12 point lead turning round with the conditions.

Carrick had just a solitary penalty to show for their efforts and the Ballynahinch supporters knew that another score would effectively close out the contest.

Replacement prop Nacho Caldera Crespo duly delivered with a typically strong carry over the line and a Paddy Browne penalty stretched the lead further as Carrick began to tire. Browne then converted Gill’s second as Ballynahinch pushed out to a 27-3 lead.

Matt Connolly scores for the Hinch 2s as the Carrick defender takes evasive action.

To their credit Carrickfergus continued to battle and scored probably the best try of the day through winger Simon White after an excellent linebreak and wide pass from scrum-half Conor Cambridge. The home pack then turned the screw with three tries in the final fifteen minutes to put a little gloss on the scoreline.

Tries from Stuart Evans and Keith Dickson bookended a superb breakaway and finish from lock forward Matt Connolly who had just enough in the tank to make the line as the clubhouse crowd roared their approval.

If they can continue to field this kind of powerhouse pack of forwards over the rest of the season the seconds will be a very difficult team to beat. A few strike runners are back from injury and unavailability in the backline and the coaching team will hope for another home tie when the tournament resumes in early December.