Ballymena Hockey Club ladies’ First XI enjoyed a week to remember, with victories in both cup and league competitions.
The local girls followed up a 4-0 midweek Senior Cup win over Raphoe with a narrow 1-0 win at neighbours Ballyclare in Saturday’s league game.
Ballymena 4, Raphoe 0: Capitalising on and early mistake a Ballymena short corner saw Susanne Morrison strike the ball home for a 1-0 lead.
Ballymena’s second goal came from Stephanie Penney, following a cross-field ball from King that Penney neatly deflected into the goal.
Ballymena added their third form captain Claire Gillespie, just before the half to leave Raphoe a tough task for the second 35 minutes.
With confidence high, Ballymena fought hard, as Raphoe forced Davis in goal to repel two short corner strikes, before King went one on one with the Raphoe keeper, pulled the ball wide and slotted it home for a Ballymena fourth!
Ballymena: J Davis (GK), N Greer, C McCracken, G McBurney, S Morrison, J Sutherland, H Taggart, A Crooks, A Logan, C Gillespie, E King, S Penney, S Reid, E Gillespie.
Ballyclare 0, Ballymena 1: In a scrappy game of few clear-cut chances, Ballymena struck the decisive blow in the second period, with Emma Gillespie playing in Stephanie Penney to slot it past the keeper.
Ballymena: J Davis (GK), N Greer, G McBurney, S Morrison, J Sutherland, H Taggart, A Crooks, C Gillespie, E King, S Penney, S Nicholl, E Gillespie.
Ballymena II 0, Dromore II 1: Ballymena missed a chance to go ahead when Rea and McClintock showed good promise and determination which won Ballymena a penalty flick, but unfortunately the Dromore goalkeeper outwitted Rachel Murphy on this occasion.
Into the second half and Dromore pushed players forward with strong attacking play and after a goal-mouth scramble the visitors took the lead after the ball rebounded off the Ballymena keepers pads.
Ballymena again fought back and won several penalty corners, but Dromore’s defence was proving very hard to break down. The team would like to thank Andy Linford and Chris Aiken for umpiring.
Seconds: L Hanna (GK), A Harbinson, V Hogg, E Clarke, H Dickey, R Murphy, E Anderson, L McClintock, L Murphy, K Aiken, N Rea, G Weir, S Montgomery.
Banbridge III 1, Ballymena III 0: An unfortunate Ladies 3rds lost 1-0 away to Banbridge Thirds. Edging the first half on control and possession Ballymena were unlucky not to convert several chances in the circle.
Good interplay between Alexander, McCready and Farquhar kept the home side pegged back in their own half, relying on counter attacks to trouble the Ballymena defence, but Kealey and Sloan were strong in the tackles.
Scoreless at the half, Ballymena were challenged to move the ball early and with McMaster and Johnston leading the charge, Ballymena again came close but for the efforts of the Banbridge keeper.
After a strong period for the home side, they took the lead, but Ballymena continued to push for a goal with telling runs down the right flank from Smyth, but neither Lorimer nor Logan could convert. This was a positive display from the Ballymena girls, who will look to get back on track next week.
Thirds: C. McCombe(GK) K. Kealey (c), C Lorimer, G. McCready, K. McMaster, L. Logan, E. Alexander, A. Farquhar, N. Sloan, D. Lipsett, E. Johnston, S. Smyth.
Ballymena IV 5, Coleraine II 1: Ballymena 4ths welcomed Coleraine ladies to the Academy in style on Saturday with a 5-1 victory!
Ballymena goals came from Natasha Taggart (2), Lauren Burrows, Ruth Barr and Nadine Ford in a rewarding win for this fledgling team.
Ballymena 0, South Antrim V 0: Ballymena earned a number of short corners in the first half but failed to capitalise on each occasion. South Antrim had a good opportunity of their own when their centre forward picked up a long ball and found himself one on one with the Ballymena keeper, however, Birrell managed to steal the ball with a well-timed challenge.
Both teams had further short corners in the second half and in the final minutes Ballymena had a goal disallowed as the game ended in stalemate.
Ballymena: J Birrell (GK), C Fulton (C), S Glass, V Orr, M Allison, A Linford, A Lorimer, A Crooks, D McDonald, A McKeown, M O’Neill, R Jess.