With all the ladies’ games called off, it was the two men’s teams who represented Ballymena Hockey Club in last weekend’s action.
Both teams made the trip to Downpatyrick to face their Down counterparts but it didn’t prove to be a memorable day with both sides returning home defeated.
Down 5, Ballymena 1: Expectations were not high for either team as the 1sts took to the gravel, just as the rain started!
Ballymena had much of the early pressure and position high up the pitch in the first half, but true to form it was Down who scored first from their only real attack of the half. Ballymena equalled the score before half time with a good finish from Victor Orr.
As the weather and pitch continued to deteriorate into the second half, Down quickly took advantage scoring twice in quick succession, as the unfortunate Birrell lost the ball in the mud and surface water in a couple of goal-mouth scrambles!
Down followed this up with two more goals before the final whistle to take the match 5-1 and take the lead away from Ballymena at the top of the League by goal difference, although Ballymena remain in a strong position with one game in hand over the County Down Club.
Ballymena: A. Linford, J. Birrell (GK), C. Hogg, D. McDonald, V. Orr, C. Fulton, A. McKeown, D. McDowell, M. Allison, A. Crooks, , M. O’Neill, P. Nicholl.
Down II 3, Ballymena II 1: Ballymena 2nd followed the 1st XI onto a practically unplayable pitch to quickly find themselves a goal down in the opening 5 minutes!
However, once Ballymena found their footing good play from Glass, Cole and Hamill gave Ballymena the upper hand for much of the first half. This resulted in several scoring opportunities, but a combination of mud, water and luck, kept the ball out of the Down goal!
Finally, seconds form the end of the half a well-timed pass from Hamill found Moody bursting into the circle, to drive a thunderous shot into the corner to level the score at 1-1.
Into the second half and Down poured on the pressure, hemming Ballymena into their own half. Eventually the pressure told, as Down scored twice in quick succession.
The team would like to thank Andy Linford for umpiring.
Ballymena: Team: K. McConnaghie, J. Grimason, D. McDowell, A. Hanna(C), T. Cole, D. Hamill,
W. Barr, S. Glass, K. Murphy, P. Moody, B. Mills, P. Nicholl.