Ladies overcome weather - but not their opponents

Ballymena Fourths gain possession of the ball in Saturday's game against Instonians.
Ballymena Fourths gain possession of the ball in Saturday's game against Instonians.

The inclement weekend weather eased enough for the majority of Ballymena Hockey Club’s teams to complete their scheduled fixtures.

But it didn’t prove to be a vintage day for the Ballymena outfits with none of the ladies’ teams winning their games.

The umpire prepares to blow for an infringement during the Ballymena Fourths v Instonians match.

The umpire prepares to blow for an infringement during the Ballymena Fourths v Instonians match.

SECONDS

Lisnagarvey II 2, Ballymena II 0: Ballymena 2nd XI travelled to Lisnagarvey on Saturday in a bid to add a few more points to their League tally this season, off the back of a good cup win.

As the half progressed, Garvey began to dominate with strong tackles and closing Ballymena down quickly on the ball, but any chances they created were easily dealt with.

Into the second half and Garvey pressed hard for an opening goal, but Ballymena were able to counter through the pace of Amy Logan, supported by Emily Alexander, Sharon Nicholl and Stephanie Penny, but to no avail.

A Ballymena Fourth XI sweeps the ball forward during Saturday's game against Instonians.

A Ballymena Fourth XI sweeps the ball forward during Saturday's game against Instonians.

Garvey’s next attack brought heartache for Ballymena, as a wicked deflection off a defenders stick took the ball into the corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead to the home side! A devastated Ballymena, dug in deep and again showed their determination and resolve to get back on terms, with further breaks down the right flank, but were unable to convert to level the game.

Garvey remained strong and won a further penalty corner close to full time, which they clinically despatched to end any hopes of a Ballymena revival.

The team would like to thank Eddie Hampton for umpiring.

Seconds: L.Hanna(GK), N.Greer, E.Clarke, S.Montgomery, H.Dickie, L. McClintock, E.Alexander, E.Anderson, N.Rea, S.Nicholl, A.Logan, L.Murphy, S.Penny, K.Aiken.

THIRDS

Ballymoney III 3, Ballymena III 3: Both teams went at it from the start in this local derby match at the Joey Dunlop centre, first Ballymena with good play from Montgomery and Logan and then Ballymoney who forced Ballymena’s defence to produce several key tackles to prevent the opening goal.

Just before the break the deadlock was broken unluckily for Ballymena with a cross circle shot that was tipped in off a Ballymoney stick to deflect the ball past the advancing goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead.

Into the second half and Ballymena were determined to get back on terms and winning a penalty corner at their first attack, Lauren Burrows duly obliged with a thunderous strike into the corner to level the game. Pushing on from this with good play down the right Sarah Montgomery took on several players before slipping the ball into Laura Logan to slap the ball home for a 2-1 lead to the visitors.

Another penalty corner at the other end of the pitch levelled the score again from a clinical Ballymoney strike, before Laura Logan attacked with Emma Johnston straight from the restart, carving a path of desolation through the jubilant Ballymoney players with one touch passing to place the ball neatly past the keeper, to give Ballymena the lead again at 3-2!

This time Ballymena held on against further Ballymoney attacks until the closing minutes, where another well worked penalty corner equalised the game for the home side and both teams shared the points.

FOURTHS

Ballymena IV 1, Instonians II 1: The Ladies 4ths drew their home game this week with a timely goal from Natasha Taggart

Fourths: N. Taggart, N. Ford, C. McKernan, C. Perry, E. Robinson, L. O’Flagherty, R. Watt,

J. Donald, J. Neill, C Sheehan, J. McClarnon, D. Johnston

MEN

Derg Valley 4, Ballymena 0: Ballymena travelled to Castlederg on Saturday hoping to add another 3 points to their season’s tally and within minutes of the start of the game Alex McKeown found the back of the net with a ferocious reverse stick drive following great individual skill to create the opportunity!

Despite the lead Ballymena struggled to rediscover their recent form and in fact switched off totally at the end of the first half allowing Derg to equalise from nothing.

Ballymena dominated possession after the restart but few meaningful opportunities were created. Thankfully, ten minutes before full time Andrew Lorimer restored the lead for Ballymena, with a solid strike from a short corner routine.

Kris McConaghie making his Ballymena firsts goalkeeping debut pulled off two consecutive blocks to deny Derg Valley a share of the points as the game drew to a close at 2-1 to Ballymena.

Ballymena: K. McConaghie, C. Hogg, A. Crooks, A. Bell, V. Orr, A. Linford, M. Allison, C. Fulton, A. Lorimer, A. McKeown, S. Glass, K. Murphy, D. Hamill.

* The men’s Second XI claimed a walkover win after opponents Armagh were unable to field a team.