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The annual match between Ballyclare and Larne Rugby Clubs for the Hall Cup was due to have been played on Boxing Day but was called off due to frost and snow. It was re-arranged for Monday 3rd January at the Cloughan with the 1st and 2nd XVs from each club facing each other in cold but dry conditions. Larne are currently unbeaten in Qualifying3 while the Clare are pushing for third place in Qualifying2 and on the day the gap between the leagues was apparent as Ballyclare dominated for long periods and really could have won by a greater margin if all the scoring chances had been accepted.
Ballyclare 1st XV 32 Larne 1st XV 17
The match attracted a good crowd of supporters from the two clubs as many had not seen a game for weeks due to the heavy snow and deep frost.
Ballyclare started strongly and an early break saw Clotworthy halted close to the Larne line.Cóntinued home pressure led to a penalty which Clotworthy kicked to go 3-0 up. Another good attacking run from the home backs kept the visitors defending and eventually the Clare pack drove to the line with Boyd getting the try which was not converted. Larne now came more into the game only for Weatherup to race away and he took a pass from Clotworthy to finish the move he had started with a try in the corner to put the home team 13-0 ahead. Next Clotwothy kicked deep and followed up to get in for a try which he also converted. Larne replied with a try from Mills due to some weak home tackling and Garrett added the points to make it 20-7. Another promising run from Weatherup was promising but Reid was stopped inside the 22. A high tackle by a Clare player gave Larne a penalty and Garrett kicked it to reduce the home lead. A strong surge by Moore led to a penalty which was missed so it was still 20-10 at half-time a scoreline which hardly rellected the home side`s dominance.
In the second half the Clare back row often made ground and following another pacey break from Clotworthy Byers followed up with a try converted by Clotworthy. Minutes later Clotworthy raced clear to go in near the corner for an unconverted try and a clear-cut 32-10 lead. Again the Seasiders countered and from the last of three short penalties got a deserved try converted by Garrett to take it to 32-17. Into the final quarter and a break out by Wylie and Rob Boyd took play up to the line only for Al Boyd to lose possession. A late attacking run by McKinstry saw Skipper Logan held up close to the line as Larne continued to defend well. Overall Ballyclare were always sharper and had more pace and if all the chances had been taken the gap on the scoreline would have been wider.
Team G.Clotworthy; G.WEatherup,N.Loughlin (G.Byers),J.Jackson, J.Reid; I.Russell,C.Morrow; A.Boyd,A.Wylie,D.Montgomery;R.Boyd,G.McKinstry; A.McGrugan,W.Logan (capt),N.Moore Referee–Mark Surgenor
Ballyclare 2nds 30 Larne 2nds 7
On the adjacent pitch the Clare Seconds fielded a mixed side and proved too strong for their Larne counterparts. The game was dominated by Craig Wallace who plays for the Clare Under 19XV and is their top try scorer—he continued in the same way and got a hat trick of tries to show he is ready for promotion. At the start the Seconds forced a penalty but Alexander was just wide.Then a spell of home pressure led to the first of centre Wallace`s tries which was not converted. But Alexander did kick two penalties to put the Clare boys 11-0 up at half-time.
Early in the second half Wallace raced in to score again and Alexander converted to go 18-0 ahead.Larne did come back at this stage but missed a penalty near the posts. Next , following a short penalty prop forward Stevie Crawford burrowed over for a try in the corner. The home side continued to dominate and Wallace broke clear from ten metres out to complete his hat-trick and Alexander added the points to make it 30-0.. The Larne boys did not give up and managed a consolation try near the end to leave the final score 30-7. As the Hall Trophy is based on aggregate points there was no doubt that it would return to the Cloughan clubhouse after a 62-24 differential. After the matches it was presented to Ballyclare captain Willie Logan.

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