BALLYCLARE WIN UNDER 19 LEAGUE
Despite the wintry weather on Saturday Ballyclare Rugby Club teams managed to complete their league games. The only side not to play was the unbeaten Fourths as their opponents Malone 5ths were unable to raise a side and this was the second consecutive week that the Fourths had their game called off. The top match was the Under 19XV at home to Randalstown as the Clare boys were aiming to win the league section.
Randalstown proved to be strong opponents and were always in contention but it was the home side who took an early lead with a penalty by scrum half Beasant as normal kicker Harvey was not playing.The Clare boys began to get on top with an outstanding performance from McCartney at hooker.The pressure led to a try by Chris Gawn near the corner. Minutes later a penalty from Beasant gave the Clare a lead of 11-0 which was the score at the interval. Randalstown upped the pace in the second half and began to show up well in attack. From an early break they got a try which was converted to cut the home lead to 11-7. But the home forwards countered and did enough work to make the chance to allow Gawn in for his second score out wide to increase the lead to 16-7. Again Randalstown came forward but were stopped by great tackles from Mark Wright.
For the home team there was a welcme return by Colin McGookin who had been out injured for a long time– he took over at scrum half and did well. Ballyclare held on for the win which gives them the league title and were able to celebrate an unbeaten run along with coaches Byers and Reynolds. The man of the match was Chris Gawn but it was an overall team performance by this useful Clare side.
SECONDS GET VITAL WIN—The Clare Seconds led by Michael Stevenson have recently had a run of losses and needed a home win against Coleraine 2nds. They started with an early try from Graeme King near the corner but Coleraine hit back with a penalty to make it 5-3. Then after a big drive from the seconds pack the skipper Stevenson got the toch down to go further ahead. When Coleraine failed to clear J.J.Baird picked up to score and Caldwell converted to make it 17-3 at the interval. In the second half The visitors came back with two tries not converted to reduce the clare lead to 17-13. near the end a penalty by Caldwell made the issue safe at 20-13. There were good performances by Baird,Morrow and Martin Todd in this victory. It was good to see Stephen Baillie back watching following his cheek bone injury.
THIRDS DRAW AT BALLYNAHINCH—The Thirds are on a decent run and travelled to the `Hinch 5ths but in the first minute Alexander missed a straightforward penalty. They did get on top only to see the home side break out for a converted try. Play now became fairly even yet it was the `Hinch who forced a try near the interval for a 12-0 lead. In the second half the Thirds did come back even though Aaron Weir was off injured. A strong run by mark Weatherup and Matt. Crothers led to a try for Mark Millar converted by Alexander. Then a penalty by Alexander cut the home lead to 12-10. The Thirds were now on top only for the home side to score in the corner and lead 17-10 with only ten minutes left. From a scrum near the end the Thirds won a ball against the head and it was moved out to Trevor Clarke who scored near the posts and Alexander converted to make it 17-17. This was a fine team effort with Weatherup and Clarke strong in the backs while Crothers,Turner and Gaston did well up front.
JACK COULTER—- Ballyclare R.F.C. founder member Jack “Oul Hand ” Coulter was recently in Antrim and Whiteabbey Hospitals but now is back home . He would appreciate a visit from any club member at his Chisholm Court home. Best wishes for a full recovery.
Saturday Fixtures (weather permitting)— 1st XV v C.I.Y.M.S.(unbeaten) home ; 2nd XV v Ballymoney 2nds (away); 3rd XV v Lisburn 3rds (away) 4th XV v C.I.Y.M.S. 4ths (away); There will be a pre-match lunch prior to the 1st XV game —contact E.Simms,P.McCudden or I.Morrow.