BALLYMENA Under 13s welcomed local rivals Randalstown to Eaton Park for an eagerly awaited derby clash on Saturday.
From the first whistle the Braid boys showed they meant business. With McIlwaine and Lennon driving forcefully through the centre the ball was moved to Pattison who crossed for the first score of the game. Walker slotted home the conversion and the boys were on their way.
Randalstown however hit back and despite some solid defence from McConkey and Houston Randalstown crossed to level the scores.
Randalstown showed why they have an excellent record this season by taking two more scores which gave them a healthy half-time lead.
However the Ballymena boys showed pride and determination to turn the game around in the second half.
Led by outhalf Marks the boys began to dominate possession with the impressive Morrison crossing for the first of his two tries.
This was quickly followed by scores from McAuley and McLoughlin which saw Ballymena take the lead. Ramsey and Houston now began to take control in the loose and it was only some solid defence which stopped Boyle crossing for another score.
Harron and Fullerton then produced some excellent back line play which saw the ball moved to Morrison who crossed for his second score of the game. Walker converted and the comeback was sealed.
The impressive performance from the 13s saw the final score Ballymena 31, Randalstown 17.
The Under 17s were in equally dominant form and from the outset the pack proved too strong for their rivals.
Led by man of the match McKillon the boys were soon deep into Randalstown territory. A concerted forward drive Getty saw Kerr release Thompson who drove over for the first try. McNeill slotted the first of his conversions and the 17s were on their way.
The first half saw almost all of the play in the Randalstown half with Jennings and Hunter dominating in the loose.
Despite losing the impressive Logan and Mackness to injury the 17s continued to press and Scott released Rock who brushed several defenders aside before touching down under the posts.
The second half saw the Braid boys continue to press with substitutes Simpson and Crooks taking the play deep into their opponents half.
Another strong drive from the pack saw Adams pass to McKillen who crossed for another score. The 17s then took their foot off the pedal and despite some excellent defence from Bell Randalstown made the most of several penalties to hit back with two scores.
This spurred the 17s back into action and a piece of individual brilliance saw Mattison side step several tacklers before touching down under the posts.
The boys were now dominating the game with Millar and George making strong runs into their rivals territory. The game was sealed when Stewart evaded a tackle before passing to McNeill who ran in the last try of the game.
The boys continued to show pride in their jersey taking the final score to Ballymena 31, Randalstown 12.