Ladies given harsh introduction to higher level of opposition

Ballymena Ladies' Third XI v North Down action at the Academy pitch on Saturday afternoon with Ballymena under pressure to release the ball. INBT 12-863H
Ballymena Ladies' Third XI v North Down action at the Academy pitch on Saturday afternoon with Ballymena under pressure to release the ball. INBT 12-863H

Ballymena Hockey Club ladies’ First XI were given a taste at the weekend of what could be to come if they achieve their goal of promotion.

Mary Glass’s side played the first round of a new cup in Ulster ladies hockey called the Presidents Cup which incorporates teams from the Premier League and Senior League 1.

A battle for control of the ball during the Ballymena ladies' Third XI v North Down match. INBT 12-860H

A battle for control of the ball during the Ballymena ladies' Third XI v North Down match. INBT 12-860H

Ballymena ladies who currently play in senior league 1 were unlucky to be drawn against Belfast Harlequins who are currently sitting in the top position in premier league having scored 52 goals so far this season.

Harlequins then began to show their experience and began to attack the ballymena circle. Harlequins won a series of penalty corners which were executed with accuracy and flair. By half time ballymena were 3-0 down.

Midway through the second half Ballymena won a penalty corner which led to Emma Gillespie scoring with a very well struck shot.

In the dying minutes of the match harlequins won a penalty stroke which they successfully converted after a shot on goal had been saved on the goal line by a Ballymena foot.

Ballymena: J. Davis(GK), G. McBurney, S. Morrison, E. Alexander, A. Logan, E. Gillespie, H. Taggart, J. Duncan, C. Gillespie, E. King, K. Young, A. Logan, E. Clarke.

SECONDS

Ards II 7, Ballymena II 0: Balymena found the going tough against an Ards side who sit second in the league.

With 3 games left to play in the league, Ballymena move on to their next game in search of valuable points to keep them one step ahead of their rivals in the relegation zone, but positive play like the first half in this game will keep the final outcome in their own hands.

Ballymena: L. Hanna (GK), N. Greer, H. Dickey, E. Alexander, E. Anderson, N. Rea, L. McClintock, S. Penney, L. Murphy, K. Aiken, S. Montgomery, G. McCready, S. Nicholl, S. Storey.

THIRDS

Ballymena III 0, North Down IV 2: Ballymena 3rds hosted North Down at the Academy hoping to round off their season with a win and secure a fifth place finish in the league.

The first goal however fell to the opposition on a quick break that found Ballymena struggling to defend and at the interval Ballymena went in 1-0 down.

Jones in the Ballymena goal was called on several times to make good saves and keep her team in the match but another North break saw a wicked deflection give the keeper no chance of a save.

Ballymena: R. Jones(GK), L. Burrows, C. Lorimer, E. Johnston(C), L. McClintock, R. Barr, S. Montgomery, L. Logan, N. Blair, D, Thompson, J. Lowry, R Reid.

MEN

Portadown III 0, Ballymena 4: Ballymena travelled to Portadown in the semi-final of the Minor Cup on Saturday.

The game started at a sharp pace with Ballymena quick out of the blocks. Fulton found space on the right to pick out McDonald who in turn swept the ball to McKeown who duly dispatched a fine shot for the early Ballymena lead. This was soon doubled with a Linford reverse strike for 2-0.

Portadown then began to take hold of possession, but a quick counter from Ballymena earned a short corner which Lorimer finished with a straight strike.

Good work from Allison on the left and a well delivered cross gave Lorimer a chance to double his tally, but his shot was saved only for Fulton to follow up from close range and give Ballymena a 4-0 lead at the break.

There was no further scoring in the second period and Ballymena will now play NICS in the final.

Ballymena: K McConaghie, A Bell, D McDonald, R Jess, A Crooks, M Allison, C Fulton, A Lorimer, A McKeown, A Linford, P Moody.