Ballymena U-19s record first win over ‘Hinch for decade

Ballymena Under 19s ignored the pressure of history and beat Ballynahinch for the first time in 10 years at this level on Saturday.

Tom Wiggins, Ballymena's Director of Community Rugby decided to grow a moustache for Mowvember and sprayed it pink for the shave off day. Tom has raised over £150 for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children. Tom says' All the boys and parents at the Club have been very generous. Unfortunately a couple of young people at the Club have been touched by cancer and as a youth section we always try to do one or two fund raising events every year to support the NI Cancer Fund for Children. The boys from the Under 13s were very keen to shave off the moustache and my wife says I look marginally younger - so a win all round'.

The boys were up for the game from the start and spurred on by outhalf Appleton they were soon deep into the Ballynahinch twenty-two.

A strong drive from prop Allen saw the 19s just short of the line.

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The impressive McCooke saw his opportunity and scooped up the ball to dive across for the first score of the match.

However this was always going to be a tight game and the visitors took advantage of some loose play to go down the pitch and level the scores.

The 19s were in determined mood and they with the back row in impressive form a smart pass from Lowry released Small who dived over to score under the posts. Rainey converted and the lead was restored.

The hone side were now in control and a flowing back line move saw the ball moved to Bowes. He collected at speed to crash through the Hinch line and sprint clear to score.

As the 19s tried to build on their lead they were hit by an intercepted pass which saw the visitors run away to score a try against the run of play. The half-time break saw the Ballymena re-group and come out in a mood to close the game.

The forwards were now dominating and pushing the visitors deep into their own half. A break from Gilkinson saw him pass the ball to the strong running Longwell who brushed away several defenders before crossing for a well deserved score. Lowry slotted the conversion and the 19s were now on the front foot.

From the re-start the Braid boys drove forward and the ball moved to centre Mattison he deftly side stepped several tackles before running free to score under the posts. Hinch showed why they have been one of the strongest sides in youth rugby and hit back with two quick tries following a harsh yellow card given to Ireland for his first infringement of the game.

The re-start saw Ballymena awarded a line out. A superb leap from McCooke saw the ball taken by Bamber. He moved the ball to Ireland who released Selwood, he drove strongly to score in the corner.

The result was now beyond doubt and it was left to Bowes to complete the scoring when he ran on to a pass from Crooks to score what was to be the last try of the game.

Coach Colin Craig was delighted: “This is all down the the boys’ hard work. They have turned up to training every Wednesday night and have improved every game.

“I am convinced several of these lads will represent the Club at the highest level,” he added.

The 19s have now beaten both Harlequins and Ballynahinch in recent weeks and hope to take this excellent form into the remainder of the season.

Final score: Ballymena 46, Ballynahinch 22.