Ballymena Hockey Club round-up: Ladies in fine form
BALLYMENA Hockey Club ladies’ First XI recorded an impressive 3-1 home win over Omagh on Saturday.
Ballymena made a blistering start with Aimee Logan testing the visitor’s keeper, after less than one minutes play, with a rasping drive which was saved with just enough to do!
As play progressed the sides looked fairly evenly matched and Ballymena were unfortunate to concede an early goal from a penalty corner which was driven just out of reach of home keeper Emma Leslie.
Omagh made a few excursions into Ballymena territory and further tested the host’s keeper with a high shot from a penalty corner half way through the period. To their credit Ballymena countered hard and pegged Omagh back for some 15 mins where they enjoyed most of the possession and dominated the midfield.
This period of ascendancy finally paid off when Becky Reynolds restored parity with a speculative strike which was deflected in off an Omagh stick.
Following the restart and some encouragement for their coach, Mary Glass, it was a more determined Ballymena side which pushed back in the second half.
A few minutes later, from a penalty corner, Sara Allen scooped up the rebound and fired it home to give the hosts a well-deserved lead 2-1. This second goal simply served to reinforce the confidence of an on form Ballymena side and was exactly the start to the second half which they needed.
Their defence held firm and executed the task in hand with brutal efficiency! Susanne Morrison’s work rate was truly phenomenal as was that of the midfield with Becky Reynolds dictating play and feeding the forwards with amazing regularity.
In a frantic last few minutes of play Susanne Morrison pushed a straight strike just wide of the post and, in the dying embers of the game, Ballymena were rewarded for their diligence.
Susanne Morrison, from a penalty corner, slipped the ball left to Clare Gillespie who hammered it to Becky Reynolds who deflected it into the Omagh goal to complete a fantastic win.
Ballymena: Emma Leslie, Sara Allen, Susanne Morrison, Grace McBurney, Catherine McCracken, Jessica Duncan, Becky Reynolds, Clare Gillespie, Leah Paul, Natalie McMullan, Aimee Logan, Sarah McBride, Lauren Kennedy, Becky Linford.
South Antrim 2, Ballymena II 1: Ballymena Men’s 2nd XI travelled to Lisburn to take on a south Antrim side who are currently lying second in the league.
In the opening period, Ballymena matched their opponents stride for stride and pass for pass. Murphy and O’Neill supported by Fulton and Hanna in midfield, tackled battled and denied South the space they craved to open this game up and seize the advantage and, for a time, it was the visitors who had the upper hand.
Indeed they were first to break the deadlock when Clive Fulton worked the ball to Alister Hanna who drove the ball towards the back post. The resulting deflection from the foot of an Antrim defender afforded Ballymena the opener.
Antrim turned up the heat, the visitors conceded a number of short corners and but for the resilience under pressure of Al Donald and Ethan Archer the equaliser would surely have followed.
Then, following a period of sustained pressure, the visitors finally let their guard down when a loose back pass was seized upon by an Antrim forward. The resulting strike, initially saved by the Ballymena keeper was scooped up on the rebound and parity was restored for the hosts.
Ballymena seemed unfazed, countered strongly and almost pulled off an upset when Tim Lowry tested the Antrim keeper with a fizzing drive which he scrambled to save. Phil Moody and Andy Boyd too had chances denied but it was an Antrim forward who seized the initiative with a dazzling individual run down the Ballymena left flank. After leaving three of the visitors defenders in his wake he managed to sneak the ball past Eddie Hampton to give the hosts the lead, just before the break.
Following the restart this Ballymena side looked confident and of the two sides were playing the better hockey. Unfortunately neither Phil Moody nor Andrew Lorimer , try as they might, could muster an equalizer for the visitors.
On the counter Antrim forced the save of the match from an agile Eddie Hampton, whose spirited effort kept Ballymena’s hopes alive.
Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the park, Andy Boyd was unlucky not to convert Ballymena’s best chance of the half. Antrim mounted a few lacklustre attacks towards the end but in the main seemed content to defend their goal advantage.
This was an accomplished team performance by the Ballymena 2nd XI and one where they gave a good account of themselves against, on paper anyway, a superior line up.
The team would like to thank Davy Lorimer for traveling to umpire and Andrew Shields for coaching.
Ballymena: Eddie Hampton (GK), Alister Hanna(Capt), Phil Moody, Clive Fulton, Ken Murphy, Al Donald, Aaron Murphy, Tim Lowry, Dave Bradley, Andy Boyd, Andrew Shields, Ethan Archer, David McDonald, Andrew Lorimer, Matt O’Neill
* Ballymena’s men’s First XI had no match after opponents Foyle conceded the game as they could not field a team.
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Weather for Ballymena
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 8 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North west