BAIRD`S POWER AND PACE TOO MUCH FOR FERMANAGH MEN
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Ballyclare 1st XV started 2012 with a 29-10 win over Enniskillen which gave Willie Logan`s side full points plus a bonus point to take them into a challenging second place in Qualifying 2 in the game at the Cloughan. In good conditions the visitors had slight wind advantage in the first half but the early pressure came from the Clare men only to lose posession and allow Enniskillen to break out to the 22 but a strong run from J.J. Baird took play back to the Skins half.Then a powerful surge by Crothers made ground and Weatherup carried on upfield only to be penalised. But the next break this time created by Byers ended with Baird racing in for a try which was converted by Morrow for a 7-0 lead. The Fermanagh side countered and forced a penalty which was just wide.The home set pieces began to be very effective despite not having had a league game for over a month and a run from Weatherup made the opening for Clotworthy to get in for a score on the right and Morrow added the points to double the home lead. Another strong run from Clotworthy almost had Byers in just before half time.
Enniskillen started the second half going forward and were close to the home line but Morrow cleared the danger . From the ensuing lineout taken by McKinstry a break from Lawthertook him deep into the visitor`s 22 but the ball was lost and the chance seemed gone.However the Clare fly half regained posession and cut through the defence to put Baird away on the 22 to get his second try not converted and a 19-0 lead. This seemed to act as a spur to the Fermanagh side who drove towards the home line forcing Morrow to clear. At this stage McKinstry was binned and Enniskillen ran the penalty to eventually get in on the left for an unconverted try. Ballyclare hit back immediately with a break out by Reid and Crothers was held up on the line. The home pack set up good ball to enable Lawther to slot over a drop goal and lead 22-5. Once again the visitors responded well and managed to close the gap with a second unconverted try. But powerful scrummaging by the Clare pack allowed Morrow to make ground and once again man of the match J.J. Baird cut through from the 22 to give skipper Logan the chance to get that vital fourth try for the bonus point and Morrow`s conversion made the final score 29-10. This was a fine overall performance from the team coached by Bob Young and the pack were very strong at set scrums and lineouts with Jackson and Clotworthy making ground in attack. Both Logan and in particular McKinstry benefitted from good throwing by Wylie in the lineouts.
Ballyclare Seconds return to winning ways
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Ballyclare R.F.C. 2nd Xv got back to winning rugby after a run of three losses when they travelled to play the bottom side in Junior 1 Banbridge 3rds on saturday. Skipper Jonathan Birkmyre said that his pack did well in the first half and forced two good penalty chances but Alexander was just wide. Then well into the half wing Graeme King was injured but soldiered on. Before the interval the home team kicked a penalty to go 3-0 ahead.
In the second half the pack began to dominate and credit has to go to the veteran team coach Gareth Johnston who turned the clock back and donned the boots despite the years! They won clean ball and Russell made the opening to put Chris Gillen away for a try in the corner and Alexander converted to go 7-3 in front. Near the end Gillen again broke clear to notch up his second try and again Alexander added the points to get a comfortable 14-3 win. There were strong performances up front from Ian Heaney and Ross Scott while Purdy,Russell,Crawford and Gillen all did well in the backs.
Portadown 3rds 25 Ballyclare 3rds 10—Tony Turner`s Thirds had only lost once all season in Junior3 prior to saturday. Away to Portadown they started well and managed tries in the first half from mark weatherup and skipper Turner against a penalty from the home side to leave it 10-3 at the interval. However they lost key forward Phil Moan with an injury and had to play a man short. The home team took more control and scored four tries to go on and win 25-10 . For the Thirds there were good performances from Andy watson, Billy Wright,Nathan Laughlin and Tony Turner.
Harlequins 4ths 5 Ballyclare 4ths 34—The Fourths remain unbeaten and this win over Quins as good as gives them the league title. It was the young Quins side who scored first but tries from Bruce Logan and Gareth Smith gave the Clare boys a 10-5 lead at half time. In the second half further scores from Logan,Smith,cavan Watson and Trevor Clarke plus two conversions by John Wasson left the final score at 34-5 to the visitors. The big test for this side will be in the McCambley Cup against the holders Ballymena 5ths on Saturday 28th January at home.
Youth Rugby–Ballyclare Under 19XV lost 25-0 at home to a good Carrick side on Saturday with all the scores coming in the first half. The Clare boys did better in the second half when there were strong performances from Peter Beasant at full back,Taylor Gilligan at back row and prop Adam Watt.
The Under 15 XV lost 19-7 to Coleraine with a try from Jack Gowdy converted by T.McGookin. The Under 13 XV lost 38-10 to Coleraineafter first half tries by Adam Gibson and Adam Elliott.
Saturday Fixtures–1st XV v Carrick (who drew last week with Bangor)-away; 2nd XV v Carrick (home); 4th XV v Carrick 4ths (away) Under 19XV v Ballymena (away);
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