Ballymena Hockey Club men’s First XI secured the Junior 5 title and promotion to Junior 4 on Saturday with a 1-1 draw away to fellow title contenders Downpatrick.
The first half saw a well organised Ballymena hold their shape but meaningful chances in the ‘D’ were limited.
A venture forward from left back Andrew Bell provided the opportunity for him to pick out Alex McKeown who fired home on the reverse just before the break.
The second half lacked rhythm with a lot of interruptions to the game.
Down did manage to pull one back to make for a tense finish.
However, the final 1-1 result provided Ballymena with the point required to clinch the title with a game to spare.
Ballymena’s final league game is at home to Lisnagarvey next week.
Thanks to Davy Lorimer for umpiring.
Ballymena: J Birrell, C Hogg, D McDonald, R Jess, A Bell, A Crooks, C Fulton, A Linford, A McKeown, A Lorimer, M O’Neill
PSNI 3, Ballymena II 2: Ballymena 2nds travelled to Stormont to play PSNI 1sts in Junior 6.
The first half saw the home side dominate the play as Ballymena’s midfield, missing several key players, struggled to get on terms. PSNI took the lead through two goals, but just before the break Ballymena managed to reduce the lead to one when Phil Moody drove the ball back post for Ben Mills to slot it home.
Into the second half and Ballymena reorganised and played much better hockey as their opponents began to tire, however they couldn’t stop a third for the home side!
Again though, Ballymena got another back with an excellent penalty corner strike from Jamie Grimason.
Into the last ten minutes and Ballymena had several chances to equal the score, with Grimason again from a penalty corner and Murphy unlucky from a deflection.
In the end though, the ball wouldn’t cross the goal and PSNI won on the final whistle by 3-2.
Thanks to Davy Allen for umpiring.
Ballymena: K. McConnaghie, D. McDowell, H. Ramsey, J. Gimason, T. Cole, A. Hanna, E. Hampton, S. Gordon, K. Murphy, B. Mills, C. Black,
Queens II 5, Ballymena II 0: Ballymena showed early promise by putting pressure on the Queens defence.
As the ladies strived to press forward the Queens defence held strong. Both Claire Gillespie and Natalie Rea had shots on goal from some key play from midfield, however they were unable to finish.
The Queens ladies played a strong game inspite of strong defensive play from Emma Clarke and Hollie Dickey.
Queens took an early lead with the score at half time being 1-0.
Lauren Hanna made some excellent saves during the course of the second half along with excellent penalty corner defence from the defensive penalty corner team, in particular Nicola Greer.