Ladies reach last four of Senior Cup for third straight year

Some of the P4 children with Ballymena Hockey Club coaches Emma Gillespie and Hollie Dickey. INBT 41-811H
Some of the P4 children with Ballymena Hockey Club coaches Emma Gillespie and Hollie Dickey. INBT 41-811H

Ballymena Hockey CLub ladies’ First XI has reached the semi-finals of the Ulster Senior Cup for the third year in succession.

The Braid ladies - who won the competition in 2013 - reached the last four despite losing 1-0 to Rainey in their final group game last week.

P4 children with hockey coaches Aimee Logan and Lauren Burrows under their supervision at the Friday evening coaching session at the BA pitches. INBT 41-812H

P4 children with hockey coaches Aimee Logan and Lauren Burrows under their supervision at the Friday evening coaching session at the BA pitches. INBT 41-812H

However, earlier wins against Cookstown, Ballyclare and Raphoe had secured a semi-final spot for Ballymena, who now meet Knock on Sunday, December 6, with a place in the final at stake.

The only goal of the game came just before half-time, while Ballymena goalkeeper Joanne David also produced a string of fine saves.

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, S Reid, E Gillespie.

Ballymena 1, Raphoe 1: Ballymena failed to hit the heights of their previous 4-0 Senior Cup win over Raphoe as the sides drew 1-1 in Saturday’s league match at Ballymena Academy.

P2 kids with their coaches ready to learn at the after school Ballymena Hockey Club coaching session. INBT 41-814H

P2 kids with their coaches ready to learn at the after school Ballymena Hockey Club coaching session. INBT 41-814H

Ballymena central defenders, McBurney and Sutherland, were able to turn the attack around when Clare Gillespie picked up the rebound of Holly Taggart’s initial penalty corner shot to put the ball in the back of the net.

Ballymena continued to dominate the play but a quick break from Raphoe split the defence and with a good initial save from keeper Davis, Raphoe converted the rebound to make it 1-1 at the break.

In the second half Raphoe had the odd break which was calmly dealt with by the Ballymena defence.

On the attack, Emma Gillespie picked up the ball and led a Ballymena break with forwards Logan, Penney and King making important runs to penetrate the Raphoe defence.

With two minutes left to play, another counter attack from Raphoe saw them win a crucial penalty corner, where a superb reaction save from keeper Davis kept the home side in the game and a share of the points.

Ballymena: J Davis (GK), G McBurney, S Morrison, J Sutherland, V Hogg, E Gillespie, H Taggart, A Crooks, C Gillespie(C), E King, S Penney, E Gillespie.

SECONDS

Ulster Elks II 2, Ballymena II 1: This game saw the 2nds play their best hockey of the season so far against a strong Elks side with pace and excellent passing skills.

Elks pressure finally paid off in the first half, when they opened the scoring from a strong strike at goal to lead 1-0 at the interval.

Into the second half and Ballymena again took the play to Elks, but a quick counter attack from the home side, made it 2-0 early into the period.

Ballymena continued to defend well and pushed higher up the pitch to try to turn the ball over inside the Elks half.

The tactic paid off as Ballymena had several passages of play inside the home 23.

Finally with 10 minutes to go Emma Clarke found Rachel Murphy in the circle whose shot beat the out stretched keeper.

Despite defeat, there was much more promising hockey for the Ballymena girls who look forward to their next opponents Randalstown.

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

THIRDS

North Down IV 3, Ballymena III 0: In the opening exchanges at Comber, Ballymena certainly looked the most likely to score with good wing play from Ruth Barr supported by Amy Farquhar, but it was North Down who stunned the visitors with two break-away goals for a 2-0 lead at half time.

In the second half Ballymena again looked strong with Kernohan, McCready and McMaster working well together to create chances for Laura Logan who was unfortunate not to convert. Penalty corners for Ballymena also went wayward, before a third goal for North Down finished the game, with the 3 points going to the home team.

Thirds: L Hanna(GK) L McClintock, C Lorimer, G McCready, K McMaster, L Logan, R Reid, A Farquhar, N Sloan, J Kennedy, S Smyth, R Barr, J Kernohan.

MEN

PSNI II 1, Ballymena II 1: Ballymena, claiming much of the early possession, opened the scoring as Sam Glass probed down the right wing to set up Ken Murphy on the back post to give Ballymena a 1-0 lead.

PSNI responded, pressing Ballymena on the ball and forcing the mistakes, but it was a quick break from a Ballymena attack inside the home 23, that saw PSNI level the scores at the half time break and there was no further addition to the scoring as the game ended in stalemate.

Ballymena: E Hampton (GK), C Fulton, A Hanna (C), S Glass, J Grimason, D McDowell, P Nicholl, P Moody, K Murphy, S Gordon, B Mills, W Barr.