Ballyclare RFC Notes: II XV Make Heavy Work Of Opening Game & 50+ Exclusive Action Shots From III XV v Cooke

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Last saturday Ballyclare 1st XV did not have a league game so the spotlight was on Chris Gillen`s Seconds who played their opening league game in Junior 1 against local rivals Carrick 2nds at the Cloughan in really warm conditions. The only other club side in action was the Thirds who have been promoted to Junior 3 but found it tough at Shawsbridge against Cooke 2nds losing heavily in the second half.
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Home scrum half Wardrop made ground early in the game but Carrick came forward and forced a penalty on the home 22 which was kicked by their out half to lead 3-0. The Clare team always had more power in the pack but failed to keep posession in the loose while the backs made chances but failed to finish them off. Wardrop again kicked deep and an attacking move stopped when a pass was dropped inside the 22. But good work from Logan and Loughlin forced Carrick off side and Gillen slotted over the kick to level the scores. Another run from Loughlin made ground forcing Carrick to defend before McAdam broke up the left side and made a chance which was not taken. Wardrop kept up the pressure but the visitors managed to clear the danger. In another surge upfield by the home backs the ball was knocked onn with a try beckoning so it remained 3-3 at half time. The home team had dominated and had chances throughout the half and should have been well ahead.
Early in the second half Logan won clean lineout ball to enable Wardrop to make ground only for the backs to lose posession in midfield. Carrick came more into the game and were just wide with an attempted penalty. The Seconds made a run up the left from McAdam but Norton was unable to hold a lowish pass before the visitors hit back with a strong run into the Clare 22. Wardrop managed to clear well and from the next home attack Moore dropped the ball on the line to miss a score.In the next attacking run another poor pass prevented a home try but when Carrick were Adjudged to be off side Gillen kicked the penalty to give his team a 6-3 lead. Good play by the outstanding Wardrop started a move and Gillen found Loughlin who went in for the vital try which was converted by Gillen for a 13-3 lead. The team had done enough to get the win but really on the day had more experience and power than the younger Carrick side but failed to finish a series of attacking runs due to mistakes. No doubt coach Gareth Johnston will try to eradicate these errors for the tricky trip this week end away to Omagh 2nds.
According to club official David Campbell this was the veritable game of two halves with the Thirds doing well in the first half but tiring under pressure in the second period to suffer a heavy defeat. In the first half the Thirds made a bright start as centre Trevor Clarke cut through the home defence for atry that was converted by Ivor Baine to go 7-0 ahead. The team was in control for much of the half even though Cooke managed to get a penalty so it was 7-3 at the interval.
But the second half saw a re invigorated Cooke team assume control up front and they were able to score on four ocassions to be clear winners at 37-7. On the positive side there were good performances uup front by Ross Scott and Clarke McCartney plus useful work in the backs from Clarke,Chris Harvey and Beasant.
Saturday Fixtures -Ist XV are away to Enniskillen and would appreciate a strong travelling support. 2nd XV v Omagh 2nds (away); 4th XV v Civil Service 2nds (home).
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