VALLEY started the new season league campaign with an emphatic 10 try win over a weakened Ballymoney side missing several key players away on holiday.
From the start Valley had most possession and were recycling the ball well. After 6 mins they were awarded a penalty in a kickable position but instead opted for the kick to touch and the lineout.
As usual Sharkey was the target and as he came down he off loaded to prop Primrose who drove towards the line.
Ballymoney managed to pull him down short but Valley recycled the ball quickly and the ball was moved across the backs to find full back Armstrong in the line and free to touch down in the corner for the first try.
Ballymoney then had a spell of possession but they could make little inroads to the sound Valley defence with Captain Baxter leading by example ably supported by his backrow teammates Trainor and Ryan Wilson returning after missing all of last season with a back injury.
In the 18th minute the Valley defence disrupted a Ballymoney ball carrier at the halfway line, centre Dunlop pounced on the loose ball and spotting a gap raced through the defence.
Just as he was about to be caught a brilliant switch with the supporting Best saw the scrum half canter over for a try.
With the kick Valley led comfortably 12-0. Valley scored another try in the next attack when from the lineout Sharkey again fed Primrose who this time was able to force his way over the line.
After 24 minutes Valley put the match beyond doubt and collected their bonus point when after a good run by Trainor the Ballymoney scrum, which had struggled to contain the powerful Valley pack was penalised twice on their own line and Valley were awarded a penalty try.
With the game over as a contest the rest of the half was a stop/start affair with little flowing rugby. Valley scored again when they took a scrum against the head and Wilson’s trademark drive drove the Ballymoney defence back.
The ball was quickly recycled and the supporting Trainor dived over for a converted try to leave Valley leading at the interval 31-0.
Valley, now playing with the slope, penned Ballymoney back in their own 22. Though Ballymoney had some possession the incessant Valley pressure never allowed any decent opportunities to develop.
It was no surprise when Valley scored again. In the 52nd min another strong drive by man of the match Primrose was stopped just short but fast recycling saw the ball moved wide where Armstrong added his second try. Valley now led 36-0
Ballymoney did manage to break out from the restart but a good turn over by Valley winger Donaldson on his own 22 saw the move break down.
Again Valley recycled the ball quickly and punched holes in the Ballymoney defence with runs from Robinson, Wilson, Trainor and Dunlop who released the ball to the supporting Best and he handed off the full back to cross under the posts his second and another converted try.
On 60 minutes Valley moved Best to out half and gave a first start to young scrum half Ellis.
Shortly after prop Moore, who dominated the Ballymoney scrum, was replaced by Bennett. Moments later Valley scored when from a 5 metre scrum Wilson drove for the line.
He was stopped short but the ball moved to Dunlop who scored. Valley now led 48-0.
From the restart Valley went back on the attack but some poor handling allowed Ballymoney to hack the ball clear.
Armstrong retrieved the kick and despite Ballymoney pressure managed to gain 10 metres.
With Valley back on the front foot a clever kick by Ellis from the ruck saw the ball caught in mid-air by a supporting Sharkey who brushed aside the final Ballymoney tackle to go over for another try and Valley led 55-0.
Even then Valley were not finished. In the 75th minute the referee awarded another penalty try when a Ballymoney player illegally stopped a Valley drive under the posts as Valley were about to score.
Shortly after the referee blew for full time with Valley having complete outclassed a Ballymoney side who never gave up despite the score line.
Though the Valley Coaching staff will be delighted with the result they will also know that harder tests lie ahead and there were still areas for improvement.
Once again Valley gave away too many penalties in a game and at times poor handling let them down but overall the Valley team were very sharp and clinical in putting points on the board at regular intervals.
This week sees Valley at home to the students of UUC at 14.30 in the second league fixture.