We caught up with the young tyros at Belfast Met and Ballymena RFC on Saturday morning in an U18 Ulster Provincial League match at the Met’s Castlereagh Campus.
Arriving at the game a little late, the match was still scoreless but Ballymena were in the ascendancy, applying a fair bit of pressure on the Met line. The home sides hard working defence seemed to be holding out but Ballymena eventually got their break through when their left wing returned a loose kick to outstrip the defence and score. Their impressive out half landed the conversion to give Ballymena a 0 – 7 lead after half an hour.
The Met looked to respond immediately and they worked their way upfield to win a penalty, but the kick was just wide and the teams turned round at the break with Ballymena leading by 7.
The Belfast side applied all the pressure at the start of the second half and they bagged an early converted try to level the game at 7 – 7 a few minutes in. However, Ballymena worked their way down field to win a penalty to take the score to 7 – 10.
However looked to have landed a decisive blow when their No 7 got his hands on the ball shortly after the restart and weaved his way through the defence for the home side’s second score, converted by their full back, to take the score to 14 – 10 at the end of the third quarter.
It looked as though the Met were going to pull away, but Ballymena had other ideas with the visitors digging deep to turn the tide.
In a controlled final fifteen minutes the visitors coolly slotted over a penalty to make it a one point game before finishing with a flourish, and late, late, try, to take the game 14 – 18 with the last play.
We’ll done to both teams for a thoroughly entertaining game, which kept me there well past my allotted time! We’ll catch up with the Provincial League again.