SLIDESHOW: Ballymena U-18s edge thriller against Randalstown

Ballymena Under 18s had to dig deep to beat a determined Randalstown team on Saturday.

From the outset Ballymena took the game to the visitors with the impressive Rock and Mckillen making strong runs to take the play deep into Randalstown territory.

This Ballymena player is held up by his Randalstown opponents. INBT40-242AC

This Ballymena player is held up by his Randalstown opponents. INBT40-242AC

A quick pass from scrum half Jonny Crooks saw him release his brother Simon who ran clear to score. McNeill converted and the boys were in control.

However against the run of play Randalstown went clear to bring the score to within two points.

The Braid boys dug deep and a nice move saw Millar make ground before passing to Jennings who ran in for the first of two tries.

Ballymena were now in control and with McIlroy dominating at the breakdown it was only a matter of time before Jennings bagged the second of his two tries.

The backs now began to get into the game and Stewart capped an impressive display to go over in the corner.

As half time approached Randalstown again crossed to ensure they stayed in the game.

The second half saw Ballymena extend their lead with a score from Bell. McNeill made what was a crucial conversion.

However with Ballymena apparently in control several injuries to key players saw the boys lose their grip on the game.

The impressive back Simon Crooks was taken to hospital obviously concussed. The injury and the sight of the ambulance appeared to disrupt the Ballymena boys and Randalstown ran in several late tries to bring the score to within two points.

The 18s however fought hard to keep their noses ahead 29-27 and see out the last few minutes.

The other good news is that young Crooks is much better and should be back playing in 4 to 5 weeks.

Overall a very worthwhile friendly match which now sets both teams up for their Premier League campaigns.