Ballynahinch flying against Bohs

Ballynahinch flying against Bohs

11 October 2017

BALLYNAHINCH went into this match knowing that another home win was crucial to keep the pressure on pacesetters Shannon and Brian McLaughlin shuffled his pack a little to keep his players fresh.

Conall Boomer started at No 8 while Johnny Simpson was back at tight head and Jack Regan at lock. Stuart Morrow started in midfield as player-coach Tom Rock observed from the bench.

UL Bohemians, who were coming off a big victory over Ballymena, travelled with high hopes, and the visitors made all the early running but had only a penalty to show for it as the Ballynahinch defence comfortably soaked up the pressure, conceding no line breaks and looking fairly comfortable.

When possession came their way breaks from Callum McLaughlin and Stuart Morrow led to a five-metre scrum, but the ball was knocked on.

Ballynahinch opened their account soon after when Clayton Milligan burst straight through a ruck, made 20 metres and put Aaron Cairns over in the corner. Johnny McPhillips, who impressed throughout, added the extras.

Campbell Classon then ran a beautiful trailer line to burst through the visitors’ defence and set up another try scoring opportunity, which unfortunately came to nothing after a scrum turnover, but the home side extended their lead to 10-3 with a McPhillips penalty.

UL Bohemians kicked poorly to David Busby all afternoon and he made them pay on the half hour mark by fielding a loose kick, scything through the defensive line, and putting the supporting Connor Kelly under the sticks for a 17-3 lead.

However, the visiting forwards soon set up great field position and a clever grubber kick foxed the ‘Hinch blitz defence, and allowing full back Joe Murray to score and make the half-time score 17-10.

Another McPhillips penalty early in the second half pushed ‘Hinch out to a 20-10 lead and despite the loss of Milligan to the sin bin, the visitors never looked like scoring as the game went flat and looked to be drifting to a low key end.

With ten minutes to go the Hinch forwards took over and mauled replacement hooker Conor Piper over the line for a 27-10 lead.

A smart line-out move then put replacement scrum half Blane McIlroy over the line for the bonus point try and a 34-10 lead.

To their credit, UL Bohemians finished the scoring in the last minute with a well-worked try up the left hand touchline from hard-working blind side flanker James Ryan.

With three bonus point wins in succession, this young ‘Hinch side sit second in the table and will be working hard in training before the next block of UBL matches begins with a blockbuster local derby against Banbridge at the end of the month.

This week they continue their defence of the Senior Cup with a trip to Bangor, who have also had an excellent start to their UBL campaign.

Ballynahinch: Conor Kelly, Richard Reaney, Callum McLaughlin, Stuart Morrow, David Busby, Johnny McPhillips, Aaron Cairns (capt), Campbell Classon, Clayton Milligan, Johnny Simpson, Jack Regan, John Donnan, Aaron Hall, Ollie Loughead, Conall Boomer. Replacements: Conor Piper, Johnny Blair, Zac Ward, Blane McIlroy, Tom Rock.

Ballynahinch 34

UL Bohemians 17