First half goal blitz earns Ballymena important win over Victorians

A Ballymena Seconds player flicks a pass forward against Randalstown. INBT 42-830H

A Ballymena Seconds player flicks a pass forward against Randalstown. INBT 42-830H

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Ballymena Hockey Club ladies’ First XI stayed among the early-season pacesetters in Senior League One with a 4-2 win at Victorians on Saturday.

In the first half Ballymena were unlucky not to take advantage of a penalty flick in the opening minutes; however Emma Gillespie did strike first from open play to give Ballymena an early advantage.

Ballymena's 1st XI player Holly Taggart pictured with mother Natasha (4th XI Captain) and sister Gemma(BHC Mini member) in her Ireland U16 kit, which was presented by the Club in recognition of her selection at both Irish U16 and Ulster U18 level.

Ballymena's 1st XI player Holly Taggart pictured with mother Natasha (4th XI Captain) and sister Gemma(BHC Mini member) in her Ireland U16 kit, which was presented by the Club in recognition of her selection at both Irish U16 and Ulster U18 level.

Ballymena had much of the possession and soon translated this into a penalty corner which was duly converted by Susanne Morrison for a 2-0 lead.

Before the halftime break Ballymena doubled their lead with an impressive strike from Vicky Hogg, followed by another converted penalty corner from Captain Clare Gillespie.

Into the second half and Victorians, despite the best efforts of the Ballymena defence did take two chances in the half scoring both.

Ballymena: J. Davis (GK), N. Greer, C. McCracken, G. McBurney, S. Morrison, J. Sutherland, H. Taggart, A. Crooks, A. Logan, C. Gillespie(C), E. King, S. Penney, E. Gillespie.

Ballymena Seconds hold off their Randalstown counterparts. INBT 42-828H

Ballymena Seconds hold off their Randalstown counterparts. INBT 42-828H

SECONDS

Ballymena II 1, Randalstown II 1: In this first local derby of the season, Randalstown opened the scoring after a mistake in the Ballymena defence early on in the game.

This fuelled a good response from Ballymena, who equalised ten minutes later from great team work from Natalie Rea and Gillian Weir down the right flank, resulting in a good finish by Lorna Murphy who swept the ball home

Ballymena continued to dominate the first half with most of the attacking play, but were unable to capitalise on their chances or penalty corners with Lyndsey McClintock coming closest with her shot saved off the line!

The second half brought no change in the score line, despite penalty corners at both ends, with notable saves from Lauren Hanna in the Ballymena goal to deny a second Randalstown goal.

The team would like to thank Hugh Ramsey for umpiring.

Seconds: L. Hanna (GK), A. Harbinson, N. Greer, E. Clarke, H. Dickey, R. Murphy, E. Anderson, L. McClintock, L. Murphy, N. Rea, G. Weir, S. Montgomery, L. Logan, K. McMaster

THIRDS

Ballymena III 5, Randalstown IV 0: The Thirds returned to winning ways with an exceptional display of hockey against Randalstown 4ths including three goals in the opening 10 minutes!

The first came from Amy Farquhar from a deflected short corner after some good work on the right flank from Emily Alexander.

Alexander then turned scorer for Ballymena’s second as she ran unchallenged into the circle and unleashed an unstoppable drive into the corner.

Ballymena’s third saw some good combination play as Emma Johnston played in Laura Logan, who neatly deflected the ball past a static keeper.

Minutes later Emily Alexander claimed her second of the day with a quick break from Farquhar, which Alexander swept into the goal to make it 4-0 at the interval.

In the second half Randalstown’s defence held strong to the last 5 minutes of the game where strong play from Alexander and Jessica Kennedy, played Charlene Lorimer into the circle for a clean strike into the corner of the goal.

The team would like to thank Davy Allen for umpiring.

Thirds: R. Jones (GK) L. McClintock, C Lorimer, G. McCready, K. McMaster, L. Logan, R. Reid, A. Farquhar, N. Sloan, J. Kennedy, S. Smyth, E. Johnston, E. Alexander.

FOURTHS

Result: Bangor II 2, Ballymena IV 2.

MEN

Result: Ballymena 3, Belfast Harlequins III 2.

Ballymena II 4, Bangor IV 2: Ballymena Men’s 2nds welcomed an unbeaten Bangor side to the Academy and quickly found themselves a goal down after a pacey break from Bangor. Ballymena held possession well and midway through the half levelled the score through O’Neill. Ballymena continued to press the Bangor defence and as McDonald played Nicholl in for a shot the rebound fell again to McDonald who squared the ball neatly away for a 2-1 halftime lead.

Into the second half and as Bangor continued to rely on the fast break they drew level with a well worked goal. Further pressure from several Ballymena short corners eventually paid off with Glass on hand at the back post to score Ballymena’s third, with a dainty lift to beat the out-stretched keeper.

As Bangor tired, on hand with number 4 for the home side was William Barr to neatly wrap up a good day’s work.

The team would like to thank Mary Glass and Joanne Logan for umpiring.

Seconds: J. Birrell (GK), D. McDonald, A. Hanna (C), S. Glass, J. Grimason, D. McDowell, P. Nicholl, P. Moody, T. Cole, M. O’Neill, B. Mills, W. Barr, E. Hampton.