Reports from Ballynahinch Ladies, and the U-14s, and the Club Round Up.
Carrickfergus Women 17 Ballynahinch Women 10.
Jane Patton reports.
A visibly rusty Ballynahinch side fell to defeat at Carrick in their first fixture for six weeks.
After a minutes silence in tribute to Aisling Murphy, Ballynahinch kicked off against a strong Carrick side and were soon on the back foot as a turnover led to some strong carries from the home pack and a try in the corner.
Indiscipline around the ruck hindered some excellent play from the visitors and gave Carrick the opportunity to score their second try. The conversion took them 12 points clear at half time.
There was a hammer blow at the start of the second half as miscommunication from the kick-off allowed Carrick to regain possession and camp in the Hinch 22.
Despite excellent defence a powerful Carrick scrum lead to a third try and an ominous 17-0 nil lead.
Ballynahinch managed to find some cohesion after their long layoff and played some excellent enterprising rugby, winning back possession with a superb kickoff routine and going through the phases before skipper Jane Patton went over for a try.
At this stage it was all Ballynahinch and an excellent chip and chase lead to another assault on the Carrick line with superb chasing by centres Rachel Morton and Jemima Johnston forcing Carrick back. The rapid Johnston was eventually held up over the line as a score went begging.
Ballynahinch kept on playing into the final ten minutes with a great run from second row Donna Gilgunn taking her team well into Carrick territory and sharp work from scrumhalf Avril Gibson putting Carrick under severe pressure. Eventually the pressure told and Patton scored her second try to leave the final score at 17-10 to the hosts.
This was probably a game that could have been won had Ballynahinch not been without a fixture over the holiday period but coach Sara Simms will be glad her side found themselves in the second half and they should hit the ground running against Cooke in two weeks time.
U14 Regional Play-off
Colin Donaldson reports
Dungannon U14 21 Ballynahinch U14 27
Ballynahinch booked their place in the final with a last gasp victory over a strong Dungannon side. They started superbly and dominated for 15 minutes with only a penalty from Joshua Woods to show for their efforts. This proved to be the only score of the half as Ballynahinch failed to turn overwhelming possession and territory advantage into points.
Early in the second half an Adam Blain charge lead to another Dungannon infringement and Woods stepped up to double the lead to six points. When Blain forced a turnover leading to an excellent converted score from full back Ruari Lester to give Ballynahinch a thirteen point lead it seemed the locals were well on their way to a comfortable victory.
However, Dungannon fought back with a try to get themselves in the game and showed that momentum is crucial in under-age rugby as they added two more in quick succession to take a two score lead. Ballynahinch looked beaten at this stage as they couldn’t put their usual patterns into place. Centre James Graham shook them out of their slumber with a trademark break and hand-off before finding Lester for his second try. Woods duly converted to take Ballynahinch one point behind going into the final two minutes.
Dungannon then looked to have sealed it As they broke through and headed for the line but flanker Peter Quinn had other ideas as he tracked his man before a textbook tackle and then jackal forced the turnover. Ballynahinch then showed all their class to play error-free rugby under pressure, forcing their way upfield before Graham punched another hole in the midfield and hit the talismanic Harvey Campbell with a perfect offload. Campbell bumped off two defenders and scored under the posts for the winning score as Woods finished the game with the inevitable conversion and a 100% record off the tee.
Lurgan lie in wait in the final and Ballynahinch will need to be on top of their game to crown an excellent season with some silverware.
Ballynahinch RFC Club Notes for 15th January 2022.
The thirds took a step closer to an inevitable title showdown with Queens 2 with a hard-fought 15-12 victory at Ballyclare, avenging their defeat in the opening fixture of the season.
There was disappointment for the 4ths and 5ths with their opposition conceding the fixtures after hard work from selectors and captains digging out competitive sides. Club rugby continues to struggle at lower levels in the post-pandemic era.
The Academy side travel to Enniskillen in the cup on Friday as they seek to build on a superb victor over Malone during the holiday period.
Youth Training continues at 7pm on a Monday night. All players U12/U14/U16/U18 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 – www.facebook.com/ballynahinchrfcofficial. For more details contact David Martin – Mini Convenor on 07837944892 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
AIL pre-match lunches are back in full swing with Terenure the visitors on January 22nd 2022. Contact James Shaw 07740308051, Erin Hodgen 07540706564 or David George 07951610151
Lansdowne 47 Ballynahinch 17 (AIL Division 1A)
Ballynahinch 2 35 Banbridge 2 12 (Towns Cup)
Ballyclare 2 12 Ballynahinch 3 15 (Provincial Premiership 1)
Carrickfergus Women 17 Ballynahinch Women 10 (Womens Cahampionship)
Dungannon U14 21 Ballynahinch U14 27 (Regional playoff)
Ballynahinch vs Terenure College (AIL 1A)
Ballynahinch 3 vs Grosvenor 2 (Provincial Prem 1)
Dungannon 3 vs Ballynahinch 4 (Provincial East)
Ballynahinch U14 vs Lurgan U14 (Regional Final 11am)