Ballymena Hockey Club men’s First XI emerged on the right end of a remarkable 7-3 win over South Antrim Fifths at the weekend.
In a battle of two promotion-challenging sides, the scoring was opened with Ballymena’s Andrew Lorimer dispatching a penalty corner strike low to the keeper’s right.
South replied quickly to pull level but a rasping cross from Lorimer allowed Ballymena to take the lead again with a back post tap in.
Lorimer then added another capitalising on a goal mouth scramble. However, South Antrim had the last say of the half as they slotted home just before the whistle, leaving it 3-2 at the break.
Ballymena made a sluggish start to the second half but after 15 minutes extended their lead with a solid strike from the top of the circle.
South did pull another back but Ballymena responded with a clinical drag flick from Andrew Linford.
A quick break from Fulton on the right allowed him to pick out Craig Davis who calmly slotted home Ballymena’s sixth.
Alex McKeown then put the game beyond doubt with a sharp finish on the end of a Fulton cross, to make it 7-3 at the final whistle.
Thanks to Hugh Ramsey for umpiring.
Ballymena: J Birrell, C Hogg, R Jess, D McDonald, A Linford, M Allison, A Crooks, C Fulton, A Lorimer, A McKeown, C Davis, M. Monteith.
Parkview 0, Ballymena II 6: Aiming for a sharp start to the game Phil Nichol despatched the visitor’s first penalty corner in the opening minutes.
In the second half Nicholl doubled his tally with a well- timed volley in off the post. A third goal soon followed when Ken Murphy connected with a full length dive to get onto a cross goal shot.
Hanna then picked out Nicholl who connected with the deflected ball driven into the circle on the half-volley for his hat-trick and 4-0 to the visitors.
Sam Glass made it five when he controlled Hampton’s pin point pass across the circle to drive the ball low and hard into the opposite corner and Murphy wrapped up the scoring with his second of the game.
Ballymena: K. McConnaghie(GK), J. Grimason, D. McDowell, E. Hampton, A. Hanna(C), D. Hamill, P. Moody, S. Glass, T. Cole, B. Mills, S. Gordon, P. Nicholl, K. Murphy, W. Barr.