Match Reports For Ballynahinch RFC for Saturday 15th October 2022
Ballynahinch 3 Clontarf 28.
James Kirk reports.
Champions Clontarf travelled up on Saturday to Ballymacarn for this clash of unbeaten sides and showed all the hallmarks of a champion side.
They negotiated some poor conditions, a vocal home support and a confident local side coming off the back of two impressive victories and eventually took all five points back down the N1 after a clinical display.
Ballynahinch had Ulster’s Ben Moxham available to cover the absence of Ethan Graham and Fergus Jemphrey and had Kyle McCall back in the front row.
Clontarf were missing talisman Matt D’Arcy in midfield, but had a full-strength pack on display and this was the key factor in a game which was much closer than the scoreboard suggests.
The home side played with the wind in the first half and local sages suggested it was as a 15-20 point breeze.
The locals unfortunately had only a solitary Greg Hutley penalty to show for their dominance of possession and territory as they were not clinical enough to finish any of several gilt-edged chances they created.
Clontarf disrupted the Ballynahinch lineout on a number of occasions in key positions and a stray pass here and there foiled other opportunities.
The pressure in defence from Clontarf was unrelentingly physical and their reaction at halftime to being just three points to nil behind said everything about their commitment.
Teams have been caught out before at Ballymacarn Park thinking the wind will do everything for them in the second half, but Clontarf showed patience and did not panic as the clock ticked towards the hour mark and they pounced as soon as the opportunity arose.
They capitalised on a Ballynahinch yellow card by turning on the power at a scrum deep in Hinch territory and were rewarded with a penalty try to take the lead.
Ballynahinch continued to fight gamely and were in the hunt for a losing bonus point until ten minutes from time when Clontarf scored again after an opportunist score from Cormac Daly, who exploited an unguarded ruck to speed in from 20m.
Ballynahinch surged upfield but despite strong work from Mark Best and Rory Butler they were unable to cross the line and were cruelly picked off twice in the final three minutes as the chased the game and left themselves exposed.
An intercept and a turnover were enough for Clontarf to add 14 points and take the maximum tally from an extremely hard-fought battle.
While Adam Craig will be disappointed with the result he will be satisfied with two wins from the first block of three fixtures as the squad enter the first rest week of the season.
Daunting trips to Trinity and Terenure bookend a home fixture with Young Munster in the next block so there will be much work to do to maintain their place in the top half of the table.
Ballynahinch 1-21: George Saunderson, Clayton Milligan, Kyle McCall, Tommy Donnan (Capt), James Simpson, Zack McCall, Bradley Luney, Jamie McCartney, Conor McKee, Greg Hutley, Ben Moxham, Mark Best, George Pringle, Aaron Cairns, Rory Butler, Conor Piper, John Dickson, Kyle Gill, Matt Connolly, Conor McAuley, Ben McMullan.
Ballynahinch U14 43 Lurgan U14 12
Ballynahinch finally got their league campaign underway at a bright and blustery Ballymacarn Park after 6 consecutive friendly wins.
Lurgan dominated the early possession but failed to make it count with a knock on from the visitors resulting in a scrum on half way.
Hinch built their first bit of pressure and went through the phases, gaining territory until lock Callum McCargo stormed over from a few metres out.
From the restart Hinch knocked on but great work from Hinch hooker Oliver Kinnear resulted in the home team winning the scrum. Half backs Donaldson and Woods got the ball quickly into midfield.
From there some excellent interplay from centres James Graham and Harvey Campbell finished it off with Campbell scoring under the posts.
The visitors quickly hit back with a score of their own from their very talented full back bringing the scores to 12-7 with 10 mins of the half remaining.
Another scrum against the head from the home team result in James Graham getting himself on the score sheet, finishing well in the corner after some great footwork and handing off two would be tacklers.
Harvey Campbell then capitalised on some lacklustre Lurgan play from the restart, taking the ball just outside his 22 and finishing brilliantly under the posts to leave the half time score 24-7.
The second half started like the first but this time Lurgan turned the pressure into a score with the Lurgan full back again running in under the posts.
Yet another scrum turnover allowed Donaldson to find James Graham who once again cut a hole in the Lurgan defence before a super back door offload to Teirnan McCann who finished well in the corner.
The game then got a little scrappy with a few high hits from the home team. Eventually Hinch were reduced to 14 when McCann was shown a yellow for a high tackle on the Lurgan fly half.
Despite the numerical disadvantage the hosts scored with a great rip from prop Ryan McMullan giving him the chance to bundle his way over the line and score from 5 metres out.
The last score of the game came from the hosts number 8 Adam Blain. A fantastic pick and go from the base of the scrum resulted in a try right in the corner.
Half back Joshua Woods was 4 from 7 of the tee with the final score 43-12 to the hosts. This was a sweet victory for the home side beating the team that pipped them in last years play off Final.
North Down 0 Ballynahinch 40
Ballynahinch travelled to North Down high on confidence after a big win over Lisburn last weekend and mastered the conditions at a blustery Ards RFC.
They attacked from the start and after a scrappy period of play when both sides struggled to maintain possession Jemima Johnston settled things down with a superb run through the home defence for the opening try.
From the restart the Hinch pack were determined for more with hard carries from Amy Brady and Natalie Shaw taking the visitors deep into opposition territory.
Once again it was the in-form Johnston who made the difference with an excellent score in the corner.
There was still time for another score before the interval and this started with some superb defensive work as North Down pushed for a score of their own.
They were stopped by a great steal from skipper Jane Patton who fed veteran centre Rachel Morton for another strong carry upfield. She was able to offload to Johnston who ran in to complete her hat trick and take the team nineteen points clear at the interval.
The result of the game was put beyond doubt early in the second half when some excellent interplay from the Ballynahinch backs off a strong scrum sent Johnston over for her fourth try.
To their credit North Down came back strongly putting pressure on the Hinch defensive line.
Both teams battled out in the middle of the park for some time, until fullback Niamh McClean and winger Paula McKay made a break for the line, with McKay grounding under the sticks and extending the score to 33-0.
As the clock ticked down both teams continued to attack, with strong carries all over the park.
When North Down finally broke the Hinch defensive line hooker Anna Herron showed the character of this team by putting her body on the line to stop the attacker with a certain try saving tackle, allowing Ballynahinch to make their way back into the North Down half.
Several phases later the ball made its way across the pitch into the hands of Patton who dotted down for the 6th and final try.
Hinch managed to hold off an game North Down outfit with relative comfort to win the game 40-0 and move to within a point of leaders Omagh at the top of the Women’s Championship table.
Ballynahinch RFC Round Up
The seconds returned to form with a bang as they thumped Harlequins at Deramore while most of the senior coaching and management team turned out for the 5ths on Friday nigh versus Banbridge where they rolled back the years with a big victory.
Youth Training continues on Mondays at 7pm for boys and Wednesdays at 7pm for girls. All players U12/U14/U16/U18 welcome and no experience necessary. Contact Clifton Quinn for details on 07501228045.
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: email@example.com
Pre-match lunches continue with Young Munster the visitors on 5th November. Contact James Shaw on 07740308051 to book your place.
Details of how to purchase a full selection of Hinch merchandise can be found on the social media outlets and on the club app.
Ballynahinch 3 Clontarf 28 (AIL 1A)
Harlequins 2 0 Ballynahinch 2 69 (2nd XV Premiership)
Banbridge 5 0 Ballynahinch 5 51 (Regional South 1)
North Down 0 Ballynahinch 40 (Women’s Championship)
Ballynahinch U14 43 Lurgan U14 12 (Regional League D)
Ballynahinch 3 vs Grosvenor 2 (Provincial Premier 1)
Ballynahinch 4 vs Instonians 3 (Regional East 1)