Ballymena Hockey Club ladies’ Second XI’s hopes of securing glory in the Qualifying Plate came to an end on Saturday.
The Braid ladies suffered a 6-1 defeat at the hands of Prioirians First XI in the semi-final at Limavady.
With their opponents playing in Senior 2 and pushing for promotion to Senior 1, Ballymena knew it would be a tough battle, which wasn’t helped by two early goals for Priorians.
The Braid girls dug in and on one of few breakaways in the first half won a penalty flick with excellent play from Stephanie Storey with Clare Gillespie converting to keep the game alive at the halftime break.
Into the second half and another early goal gave Priorians the boost to press their advantage home as they attacked time and again at the Ballymena defence.
In the end they added three further goals without reply from Ballymena, despite chances falling late in the game to Storey and Logan.
This defeat leaves the Ballymena girls to concentrate on their battle to defeat relegation, after neighbours Randalstown Sconds were confirmed as the first team to go down earlier this week.
Ballymena: L. Hanna (GK), N. Greer, H. Dickey, E. Alexander, E. Anderson, N. Rea, L. McClintock, C. Gillespie, L. Murphy, A. Logan, G. McCready, S. Reid, S. Storey
Ballymena 3, Portadown IV 0: Ballymena followed up a 7-1 midweek victory against South Antrim with a further 3 points against Portadown at the Academy pitches on Saturday.
After a poor first half performance, where Ballymena struggled to hold their shape a structural reshuffle paid dividends as Ballymena eventually found their rhythm at the start of the second half.
Andy Linford opened Ballymena’s account with a well taken strike ten minutes after the restart.
Andrew Lorimer then finished a well-worked short corner routine with a straight strike low to the keeper’s left.
Mark Allison then put the game beyond Portadown’s reach with a smart finish on the reverse following an Andrew Crooks through ball. Thanks to Davy Lorimer and Becky Linford for umpiring.
Ballymena: K. McConnaghie, D. McDonald, A. Linford, C. Hogg, A. Crooks, C. Fulton, A. Lorimer, A. McKeown, V. Orr, M. O’Neill, M. Allison, A. Bell.