Ballymena have been brutally frank when talking about their future. Captain James Kennedy and his senior players aren’t shy about declaring that the club’s youngsters would be better served developing their games away from the Premier League.
But with a must-win match to come on Saturday against Carrickfergus at Eaton Park, all-rounder Michael Taylor has dispelled any suggestion that the players won’t be giving 100 per cent.
Nothing less than two victories from their final two matches is likely to save Ballymena due to their inferior run-rate
“It’s going to be very tough, we haven’t won a match since July and we are actually weaker from when we started the season with Steve Lazars having returned home to India,” he said.
Eaton Park could yet be Ballymena’s ace card. Carrickfergus are the team in-form, their victory over champions Instonians last Saturday has taken them to the brink of safety, but how will the likes of Jamie Holmes adjust on a square that will have seen precious little sunlight all week.
In professional Azeem Ghumann and Kennedy, Ballymena have two batsmen who are familiar with what is required to get runs at Eaton Park.
“Azeem has done brilliantly in his first season for us, to average 50 like he has done shows what a quality batsman he is, and if he and James fire we will very be difficult to beat,”
Even if Ballymena win on Saturday, it will likely not be enough to save them. Their inferior run-rate to both Carrickfergus and Lisburn, effectively means they will need to beat Civil Service North on the last day of the season too.
It’s a tough equation, but Taylor has not given up hope.
“Even if we do go down, we have got some very good young players at the club and it’s very difficult for them to develop their games in the Premier League.”