Rory Drysdale landed his fifth and final penalty goal with the last kick of the game to see Ballymena come from behind and pip Ballynahinch 15-13 at Eaton Park on Saturday afternoon.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, October 3
BALLYMENA 15 BALLYNAHINCH 13, Eaton Park
Scorers: Ballymena: Pens: Rory Drysdale 5
Ballynahinch: Try: Ryan Bambry; Con: Ryan Bambry; Pens: Ryan Bambry 2
A new signing from Instonians, Rory Drysdale held his nerve to bisect the posts in the sixth minute of injury-time after he had missed two successive long range efforts.
The game was played in difficult weather conditions and Ballynahinch had the wind at their backs in the opening half.
New Zealand out-half Ryan Bambry did the damage for ‘Hinch in the first half, scoring a try, a conversion and two penalties, as they built up a 13-6 advantage.
His try came from an interception as he got in to claim an attempted kick over the top from Drysdale and sprinted clear for the line.
The County Down men, who collected two Ulster and two All-Ireland trophies last season, looked more than at home in their first ever AIB League Division 1 match.
But Drysdale reduced the arrears to six points just before half-time, when both sides had a player sin-binned.
And in the second half, three further penalties from Drysdale saw Ballymena hand new coach John Andrews his first league win.
‘Hinch enjoyed a period of dominance in the third quarter, camping near the Braidmen’s try-line but the hosts’ defending was of the stout variety and the try did not come.
Andrews will have been pleased with the performance of his forwards who held the upper-hand as the game wore on.
BALLYMENA: Jamie Smith; Steven Castle; Tommy Seymour, Chris Brigl, Rick Andrew; Rory Drysdale, David O’Hara; Jimmy Carson, Ryan Fisher, Simon Shawe, Darryl O’Kane, Darren Best, Ross Hackney, Paul Pritchard, Sam McKinney (capt).
Replacements used: Paul Smyth for Hackney (60 mins), Mark Wilson for O’Kane (66), Andrew Ferguson for Carson (68), James Taggart for Wilson (79).
BALLYNAHINCH: Jonny Cullen; Nevin Spence, Stuart Morrow, David Harris, David Nicholson; Ryan Bambry, Harry McAleese; Paddy McAllister, Gavin Armstrong, Lewis Johnston, Chris Napier (capt), John Gunson, Jonny Graham, Robert Greer, Michael Graham.
Replacements: Aaron Ferris, Michael Kirkwood, Joshua Donaldson, David Steele, Chris Stevenson.