WITH the late postponement of the Lisburn first XV fixture against Randalstown, due to a waterlogged pitch, Lisburn Second XV had the fixture list to themselves and were able to welcome back their Captain Jamie Dickson to the front row.
Stuart Pringle was also making a rare appearance and both of these players made a big difference to the Seconds pack as they took on Ballymoney 2s who were joint leaders in Section 1 of the Junior League.
Stuart Pringle, playing at No 8, got Lisburn off to a good start with a penalty and this was followed shortly afterwards with a try from outhalf Owen Hilary following good work from the pack.
Ballymoney then brought the ball up to the Lisburn line where a pressure situation saw the clearance kick blocked down and the visitors were back to within a point at 8-7.
Pringle again intervened with a great break and found Ashley Gilford on his shoulder and the scrumhalf dashed in for the score. Pringle himself converted to make it 15-7.
The match was being played at a good pace with both teams moving the ball around and try scoring opportunities were turning up regularly.
Michael Press, Mark Uprichard, Jonathon Kelso and Jonny Gilkinson were having great games up front. On one of these Lisburn put pressure on the Ballymoney defence and with the ball bobbing around loose behind the visitor’s line, Owen Hilarywas the man to get the touch.
While the conversion failed, Lisburn were leading by the unexpected margin of 20-7 at the interval.
Ballymoney opened the scoring ten minutes into the second half with a well taken try after their left winger broke diagonally across the pitch and ran into the corner untouched by the Lisburn defence.
Pringle then made it 23-12 with another penalty and at this stage of the game it looked as if Lisburn were going to come away with an unexpected win.
However, Ballymoney, seeing their league position in peril, immediately upped the intensity of the game and following a rather innocuous looking kick ahead, they chased the ball hard and grounded it over the Lisburn line. The conversion made it 23-19 and the visitors were right back in the game.
Pringle then extended the margin to seven points with another simple penalty but with only minutes left on the clock luck again evaded Lisburn when a poor call saw the ball intercepted and Ballymoney were in under the posts for the equaliser to make it 26-26.
At the death, Lisburn again surged up the field and put Ballymoney under pressure and were awarded an eminently kickable penalty but Stuart Pringle uncharacteristically sent it narrowly wide.
The draw, while disappointing in the overall context of the game, was nevertheless satisfactory against the joint league leaders.
Next Saturday the Seconds face Omagh Seconds, again at Blaris, while the first XVs of the two clubs battle it out for vital Qualifying League points on the adjoining pitch.
A big day of rugby is in prospect and all support will be welcome.