Quest for Junior Division 1 title is going to the wire

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The quest for the Ballymena Junior League Division 1 title has gone down to the very last strands of the wire.

In the final match of the season, Ballyclare Comrades Reserves and Antrim Rovers go head-to-head to decide the destiny of the league champions’ trophy at Threemilewater Park on Saturday afternoon.

These two teams have battled for supremacy throughout the season.

Stephen Hughes’ lads sat at the summit until after Christmas, but when they faltered Rovers seized the opportunity to take over at the top. So the momentum is with them going in to the decider, and they have already beaten the Reserves 2-0 this season in a league fixture at Antrim Forum..

Rovers lead by two points, so as long as they avoid defeat the trophy will be on its way to Antrim, but for the Wee Reds it’s a win or bust situation.

“The Reserves are going for their fourth consecutive title win – two of them under Jonty Watson, while I am chasing back-to-back titles,” said Hughes.

“Last season we saw off the challenge of Castle Star in another close finish, so hopefully the lads will be able to put in a repeat performance, but it will be a difficult assignment against a team that has just qualified for the Crawford Cup final,” he cautioned.

Continuing he stated: “We are going to have to do it the hard way. A few weeks ago we were heading for the title, but slip-ups against Whiteabbey and Woodburn left the door ajar, and Antrim Rovers knocked us off the pedestal.

“Win the final game and win the league, is a position that many clubs would like to be in, but winning titles is not the top of the agenda for Ballyclare Comrades Reserves. When I was appointed two years ago it was made clear to me that results were of secondary importance – my main task was to produce players for the senior team.