Antrim Rugby Club I XV 17 v Ballyclare IV XV 33

3 minutes, 57 seconds Read

Antrim had its biggest test of the year when they played host to an unbeaten Ballyclare 4ths closed side on a wet and windy day at Allen Park.

From a great win from the week before the Antrim boys were ready to come out on top and upset in the league leaders. With a couple of injures each of the Antrim players had to up their game and fight for every inch to come out on top.

From the start both teams were quick to close down any attacks. With the game in stalemate both the teams were taken heavy hits it was long until the first casualty came about with Ballyclare losing their prop forward and the scrums when unopposed. After 20 minutes Ballyclare broke the dead lock and scored from a scrum just 5 meters from the Antrim line but was unconverted.

From the restart Antrim push hard and worked their way into the Ballyclare 22 and were awarded with penalty which went unconverted leaving the score at 0-5. With long drop out Ballyclare regained possession and worked hard to get back up to Antrim’s 22 and with an other scrum the Ballyclare backline tried to break the through the and centres but with the Antrim centres on the floor Ballyclare took advantage to spread the ball wide and score in the corner and unconverted lift the score at 0-10.

Antrim tired to capitalise with a quick restart kicking deep into Ballyclare’s 22 only for the strong wind to carry the ball over the dead ball line giving Clare a scrum from the centre of the pitch from which they scored from a quick 8 pick and go giving a 2 on 1 overlap on Antrim’s wing unconverted Ballyclare were 0-15 up.

Antrim had to answer quickly and fight back and from some great defence turned the ball over at Ballyclare’s 10 metre line with good ball carrying form Cathal McSorly and the rest of the pack saw Antrim edge their way up the pitch. From Scrum it was time for the Antrim backs to spread their wings and with a great ball movement between John Bull and John Wright sent Neil Manson on his way to run at the Clare winger and offload to Gary Smith to score in the corner unconverted the score was 5-15.

Antrim pressed again and kicked deep into Ballyclare’s 22 and Antrim were just inches away from scoring a second try when Neil Manson charged down the kick only for the ball to bounce to the left and saw Ballyclare kick into touch.

The game again when into stalemate once more only for a missed tackle saw Ballyclare finish the half with another try but still didn’t convert leaving the score at 5-20 in an enthralling first half.

Antrim weren’t ready to lie down and smashed anyone carrying a ball and for the first 10 minutes saw both sides battling hard to retain the possession of the ball. At this point one of the teams had to crack and with great hands Antrim sent winger Ben on a heroic run down the touchline beating both the Ballyclare winger and fullback to score and unconverted brought the score to 10-20.

Antrim started to believe and fought for everything and began to get the upper hand on the Ballyclare side. This time it was the Antrim forwards dominating the play with great team spirit saw Darren Crooks lead his pack up the pitch and saw Antrim just meters from the Ballyclare line, and saw Steve Curns pick up and score just to the lift of the posts for Antrim to convert to leave the Score at 17-20 with 20 minutes to go Ballyclare answered straight back with a try leaving the Score at 17-25.

Antrim where on the up and where soon back in the Ballyclare half and had a chance to score once more only for the ball not going to hand give Ballyclare a chance to counter attack and just short of the Antrim 22 were awarded penalty which converted took the score to 17-28.

With 15 minutes to play there was still chance for Antrim to win and from the kickoff won the ball back and worked there way into the Ballyclare’s 22 and looked like it was there for the taking. Only for the wet weather and a slip of the ball saw Ballyclare kick the ball into touch just 5 meters from the Antrim line. Ballyclare stole the line ball and with a legal block meant Ballyclare would finish the game with a try and a win of 17-33.
It was a worthy team performance and a great stepping stone for things to come. The Man of the match went to Cathal McSorly. The only way is up.

Similar Posts