Ballymena Hockey Club ladies’ First XI fell to a surprise 3-1 defeat at the hands of Ballyclare at the Showgrounds on Saturday.
Careless mistakes early in the game gave Ballyclare the momentum going forward and they were first to score.
Continued pressure inside the Ballymena half saw Ballyclare double their tally soon after with the Ballymena girls stunned. However, a quick counter-attack just before half time brought a penalty corner for Ballymena which Susanne Morrison duly despatched to give her team some hope.
Into the second half and Ballymena picked up their tempo forcing the turnovers and making Ballyclare work for every ball, but it was a little too late as Ballyclare struck a third mid-way through the half to claim only their second win of the season.
Ballymena: J Logan(GK), S Morrison, A Logan, A Crooks, A Logan, H Taggart, C Gillespie (C), S Storey, C McCracken, N Greer, J Sutherland.
Lisnagarvey III 2, Ballymena II 3: The home side held out for 15 minutes before Lyndsay McClintock broke the deadlock after a neat one-two with Kerry Aiken to give the visitors the lead.
Garvey came fighting back with a deflection from a short corner to level the score, but before Garvey could settle into a rhythm Emma Clarke found Kerry Aiken deep in the Garvey half and Aiken coolly rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home to make it 2-1 to Ballymena.
Garvey again pushed forward and won a sequence of penalty corners and although goalkeeper Hanna initially saved, Garvey’s strength carried the ball over the line just before half time to level the match again.
The second half was a wide open affair with both teams fighting hard to win possession and find the winning goal.
Against the strong Garvey midfield Ballymena’s Harbinson found Aiken again with a long ball who dribbled towards the Garvey keeper and squeezed the ball to Laura Logan on the back post to slam the ball home for a 3-2 lead, with 10 minutes to go, which the Ballymena girls held on to to maintain their five point lead at the top of Junior 2.
Seconds: L Hanna (Gk), K Kealey, A Harbinson, K McMaster, H Dickey, N Rea, L McClintock, L Logan, K Aiken, R Murphy, L Murphy, E Clarke.
Ballymena III 1, Ards III 3: Ballymena went into this quarter-final of the Junior Cup as underdogs to an Ards 3rd XI, unbeaten in the league above Ballymena.
Ballymena were awarded a penalty corner mid-way through the first half which was slipped to Vicky Cooper whose shot was deflected in at the post by Emma Johnston to give the home team an unexpected 1-0 lead.
Their elation was short lived however, as Ards attacked from the pass back and equalised within seconds!
A second away goal hit Ballymena hard just before the break in a swift counter attacking move as Ards took the lead 2-1.
The second half was hotly contested with both teams having chances but it wasn’t to be Ballymena’s day when Ards scored again.
Thirds: K Richmond, D Lipsett, R Reid, L McClintock, J Sutherland, J Lowry, E Johnston, E Anderson, V Cooper, C Lorimer, K Young, A Farquhar, J Kernohan.
Ballymena 12, Saintfield 0: Ballymena Men dominated this game against a struggling Saintfield team this season. With a fast start Ballymena took an immediate lead through Andrew Lorimer and by half time the home side had found the net a further seven times with no reply from the visitors!
In the second half Ballymena added another four to bring their tally in the game to 12-0.
Ballymena: J Birrell (GK), A. Crooks, D. McDonald, E. Archer, A. Bell, C. Fulton (C), M. Allison, M. O’Neill, A. Lorimer, A. Mckeown, A. Linford, C. Davis, T. Lowry, K. Murphy.
Ballymena II 2, Belfast Harlequins IV 7: Ballymena 2nds hosted a tremendously skilful and pacey Harlequins side on Friday night at the Showground’s and were treated to a display of exhibition hockey from a team strangely propping up the bottom of Junior 6!
Schoolboy Sam Glass scored his first club goal, slotting home at the back post to the elation of his team mates.
Ballymena’s other goal came as Hanna pushed down the right flank and drove the ball cross goal to connect with the in-rushing Nicholl at the back post.
Ballymena: E. Hampton, J. Birrell, A. Hanna(c), J. Grimason, D. McDowell, H. Ramsey, J. Russell, S. Glass, D. Allen, W. Barr, S. Gordon, P. Moody, P. Nicholl, E. Archer, A. Linford,