Ballymena Hockey Club ladies’ First XI continued their impressive form since the turn of the year with another victory at the weekend.
Still bouyed by their recent Ulster Cup final success, Mary Glass’s side recorded anoher important league win with a 2-1 success at Larne.
In a tight, closely fought game, managed to secure another 3 league points with goals from Aimee Logan and Emma Gillespie.
Ballymena: J. Davis(GK), S. Morrison, E. Gillespie, G. McBurney, C. McCracken, J. Sutherland, A. Crooks, H. Taggart, J. Duncan, C. Gillespie, E. King, R. Murphy.
Dromore II 0, Ballymena II 3: This critical league clash for Ballymena, needing points to keep out of the relegation drop zone, started with Dromore exacting a lot of early pressure on the visitors, but defenders Clarke and Dickey were equal in the fight and held off the early attacks.
The opening goal came early against the play, when McCready sent Montgomery on a surging run down the right side line, who found Aiken alert in the middle to slot the ball into the bottom corner for a 1-0 lead!
Ballymena’s second goal again fell to Kerry Aiken, set up by Rea from midfield, with a top drawer strike to take a 2-0 advantage.
Before the half Ballymena added a third from a pacey break from Logan, whose initial shot into the circle was deflected by the keeper, into the path of McClintock following up to sweep the rebound home on the reverse stick.
Seconds: L. Hanna(GK), N. Greer, S. Montgomery, E. Alexander, K. Aiken(C), L. Murphy, G. McCready, S. Nicholl, H. Dickey, E. Clarke, N. Rea, L. McClintock, A. Logan.
Randalstown IV 3, Ballymena III 2: In a very evenly matched first half Ballymena scored the only goal when Rachel Reid picked out Gillian weir at the back post from a free hit to take a 1-0 lead into the break.
The second half was a much different affair as Randalstown quickly equalised from some early pressure on the Ballymena goal. Against the play Randalstown scored a break-away goal, quickly followed by a second to stun the Ballymena girls and lead 3-1!
Another twist late in the game saw Sarah Montgomery storm down the right wing and cross the ball into the circle for Laura Logan to reduce the deficit t one goal but try as they might, Ballymena couldn’t get back on level terms.
Thirds: R. Jones(GK), L. Burrows, R. Reid, J. Lowry, M. Knox, S. Smyth, E. Johnston, S. Montgomery, B. Hampton, L. Logan, G. Weir
Result: Ballymena IV 2, Bangor 0.
Armagh II 1, Ballymena 4: The Men’s 1st XI stepped into the next round of the Minor Cup with ease, after a 4-1 victory away to Armagh Seconds.
Two goals from Tim Lowry and a goal each from Sam Glass and Andy Linford sealed the game, ensuring the team’s name in the hat for round 2.
Thanks to Davy Lorimer for travelling to umpire.
Ballymena: A. Linford, J. Birrell(GK), C. Hogg, D. McDonald, R. Jess, A. Bell, V. Orr, A. McKeown, A. Lorimer, C. Davis, A. Crooks.
Instonians V 2, Ballymena II 3: The Minor Cup took Ballymena 2nds away to Shaw’s Bridge and Instonians 5th XI, in a dramatic and hard fought cup tie.
After falling behind to a penalty corner, Ballymena responded through Phil Nicholl with a well struck drive low into the corner to level the game before another penalty corner for Instonians, saw them take the lead into the break.
With less than 2 minutes on the clock Ballymena final forced the ball over the line in a goal mouth scramble that saw Jamie Grimason hammer the ball into the net and force the match into extra time.
With seconds on the clock, Ballymena won possession high up the pitch and a quickly taken corner by Grimason, dropped the ball to Hanna who drove the ball into the back post, where Ken Murphy nicked the ball ahead of the defender to beat the despairing keeper and give Ballymena a 3-2 victory and a place in the second round.