Hockey ladies stretch unbeaten start to three games

Ballymena Seconds keep the pressure on Ballyclare Seconds during their weekend match at the Showgrounds. INBT 38-903H
Ballymena Seconds keep the pressure on Ballyclare Seconds during their weekend match at the Showgrounds. INBT 38-903H

Ballymena Hockey Club ladies’ First XI continued their encouraging start to the season with wins in cup and league last week.

The Braid girls continued their defence of the Senior One Cup by beating North Down during the week, while on Saturday, they opeend their league campaign with a 2-1 win at Larne.

Ballymena 2, North Down 0: Ballymena hosted a strong North Down side , who put relentless pressure on Ballymena’s back four and were quick on the break.

In a rare defensive error by North Down, Clare Gillespie picked up a loose ball and rounded the keeper to make it 1-0 at half time.

In a better second half performance by Ballymena, where their midfielders and forwards worked well together, Ballymena forward Becky Reynolds crossed the ball for Gillespie to have an initial shot and Stephanie Storey to deflect the ball past the North Down keeper to make it 2-0.

Continuing to pressure the Ballymena circle, North down were awarded a flick mid way through the second half, where a cat-like Joanne Logan made a fine save to keep home side well ahead.

Ballymena’s next cup match is away to Cookstown on Tuesday 23rd September at 8pm.

Ballymena: J Logan (GK), S Morrison, C McCracken, G McBurney, A Crooks, E King, S Gage, H Taggart, C Gillespie (c), R Reynolds, S Storey, R Murphy, E Gillespie.

Larne 1, Ballymena 2: After beating this team 5-0 last week in the Senior Cup, Ballymena were determined not to be complacent and their concerns were well founded as Larne claimed a penalty corner following a Ballymena defensive error. The initial shot was well saved by Joanne Logan only for the rebound to fall to an attacking player to put Larne 1-0 in front.

Ballymena bounced straight back and Becky Reynolds delivered a pin point cross into circle for Rachael Murphy to control the ball and reverse strike an equaliser for Ballymena.

Following the award of a penalty corner which resulted in flick, Captain Gillespie stepped up aiming to secure the lead, only to be denied by good save from the Larne keeper.

But Gillespie eventually set up Ballymena’s winner, laying off the pass to Reynolds who maintained her composure, after her initial shot was saved to make no mistake with the rebound, hammering home a super reverse stick shot to give Ballymena a 2-1 lead.

Ballymena: J Logan (GK), S Morrison, C McCracken, G McBurney, A Crooks, E King, S Gage, H Taggart, C Gillespie (c), R Reynolds, S Storey, R Murphy, E Gillespie.

The 1st XI team and Club as a whole would also like to congratulate Holly Taggart on her selection for Ulster u16 squad.

SECONDS

Ballymena II 6, Ballyclare 0: In their opening Junior League Two match of the season, Ballymena started quickly and their pressure resulted in Aimee Logan slotting the ball into the back of the net for an early 1-0 lead.

Ballyclare found it hard to deal with the home side’s quick movement and again Ballymena broke clear down the right with another cross resulting in Lorna Murphy scoring for 2-0.

Ballymena again continued down the pitch where a rebound shot from a very acute angle aptly taken by Lyndsey McClintock was slotted past the keeper to make it 3-0 at half time.

Early second half pressure resulted in Aimee Logan claiming her second goal then, from a penalty corner and a perfect pass by Kerry Aiken, Lorna Murphy rifled the ball home to make it 5-0.

Shortly after with continued pressure from Ballymena, Sarah Montgomery rounded the keeper at the back post and netted another goal, to take the tally to 6.

The team would like to thank Hugh Ramsey for his continuing support with umpiring duties.

Seconds: L Hanna (GK), N Greer (C), A Harbinson, K Kealey, H Dickey, L McClintock, S Reid, E Clarke, Z Dickson, A Logan, K Aiken, S Montgomery, L Murphy.

THIRDS

Ballymena III 0, Ballymoney III 5: Ballymena Ladies 3rd XI opened their league account with a 5 goal defeat at the hands of a well-drilled Ballymoney 3rd XI at the Showgrounds on Friday night.

However, not to be disheartened by the score line, valuable game time was accumulated and the opportunity to try out a few younger members in unfamiliar positions was certainly a bonus going forward.

The team would like to thank Alister Hanna for umpiring and all the supporters who turned out to support this developing team.

Thirds: L Hanna (GK), D Lipsett, J Fulton, K Johnston, R Reid, J Lowry (C), C Law, V Cooper, E Johnston, J Kernohan, J Kennedy, S Lyle, L Logan.

FOURTHS

The Fourth XI suffered a 4-0 defeat at Coleraine in their opening Junior League 9 match.

Fourths: E Robinson, N Ford, R Barr, K Greer, J McClarnon, C Lorimer, N Blair, J McDonald, C Galbraith, R Watt, C McCombe, S Lyle, L McClintock.

MEN

Saintfield 1, Ballymena 1: Saintfield took the lead in this Sussex Regiment Cup tie with only a minute on the clock as a defensive lapse by the Ballymena back line allowed the Saintfield forward to scramble the ball home past a despairing Hampton.

Ballymena’s response was a positive one and they drew level before half time through good work from Craig Davis and Andy Lormier, which was finished off by Matt O’Neill at the back post in a game where a draw was a fair result.

Ballymena: E Hampton (GK), C Hogg (C), A Crooks, D McDonald, A Bell, C Davis, V Orr, M Allison, K Murphy, A Lorimer, M O’Neill, D Bradley, P Moody, A Linford.

* The men’s Second XI won by default after opponents PSNI were unable to field a team and forfeited the game.