Ballymena Academy secured another late dramatic win for the second match in a row, beating Methodist College Belfast 11 – 10 in this Northern Bank Semi Final with a last minute try.
Timing is everything, and Ballymena’s John Andrew’s timing is impeccable as the versatile forward has popped up to score the winning try on both occasions.
Were the winning try against Friends Schools Lisburn on Saturday was somewhat against the run of play there can be no denying that on this occasion Ballymena’s win against Methody was fully deserved.
Ballymena started the game strongly and dictated most of the play for the first half with No. 10 Patterson kicking a penalty and a drop goal to give Academy a 6 – 0 lead. The young out-half, who controlled the game well in tandem with scrum half Banda, was unlucky not to add more points narrowly missing with two other drop goal attempts.
Methody eventually raised their game at the end of the first half and with minutes to go their out-half, Jackson, dummied the rushing defence to go over for a well taken try. Jackson converted his own try taking the half-time score to 6 – 7 in favour of the Belfast side.
Methody went further ahead at the start of the second half with the impressive Jackson adding another penalty but as the half went on it was Ballymena who looked the most threatening.
With a strong sun in their opponents faces Ballymena opted to go the aerial route and with excellent chasing and crunching tackles from the back row of Patton, Dennison and Wallace, Ballymena kept their opponents pinned in their own half.
Second rows Rea and Whann continued to disrupt Methody’s lineouts and, with the bulk of possession and territory, Academy launched attack after attack with Simpson and Morrison featuring.
As with the matches against Friends, Academy tended to drift wide with the ball and a few chances went begging as they ran out of space. With time ticking and the game approaching the closing minutes it looked as though Methody, the pre match favourites, were going to live up to their billing.
However, up popped that man again as, after a series of drives from close in, John Andrew forced his way over for the winning try.
Patterson missed the conversion, but by that point the celebrations had already started.
Methodist College: (15-9) Ben McIlroy, M Gribben, M Best, R Martin, J Stanfield, P Jackson, Blane McIlroy. (1-8) R Harrison, G Reilly, C Carey, C Long, J Camara, J Andress, R Winters, P McKee. (16-22) J Harrison, P McCluggage, C gracey, C Robinson, D McIlhinney, A Berry, M MacFall
Ballymena Academy: (15 -9) C Simpson, J McClelland, G Delpy, P Storey, C Morrison, C Patterson, P Banda. (1-8) S McNabney, J Andrew, K Galloway, M Rea, D Whann, T Patton, G Dennison, P Wallace (16-22) G Hargy, J Gregg, S Goodrich, M Dick, N Stirling, J Flemming, M McBride
Referee: C. Stanley.