Ballyclare Rugby Club Notes: Vital League Clash For I XV & I XV 20 v Grosvenor Rugby 8, II XV v Clogher Valley Rugby, III XV v Lisburn Rugby & Youthg Success

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On Ballyclare 1st XV have one of the biggest games of the season in Qualifying 2 when the leaders and likely league winners C.I.Y.M.S. come to the Cloughan to face Willie Logan`s side. With two sides to be promoted the Clare are in a tussle with Donaghadee who come to the Cloughan on Easter Saturday for the last league game .Last week the Dee lost to C.I.Y.M.S. but did beat Omagh. Ballyclare must win both of their games to be in with a shout. Tonight`s game starts at 7-30 p.m. and it is vital that the Clare has a big support on the sidelines. Last Friday night Ballyclare beat Grosvenor F.P. 20-8 but the place kicking was very poor with eight wide and this cannot be repeated. However they did get another bonus point and have accumulated more than any other club in the league.

Ballyclare welcomed back McGrugan and Baird for their first league game since 18th March and were rusty early on. Grosvenor tried to run the ball from the start but the home side had an early penalty only for Clotworthy to be wellwide. Then the visitors made ground and were wide with a drop goal attempt and C.Morrow cleared. Minutes later a player from each side was sin binned which seemed rather harsh.Logan broke away but possession was lost before McGrugan made ground to force a penalty but again Clotworthy was off target from a good position.But the home pack drove into the 22 and Coburn went in for the opening try which Cloworthy failed to convert.Grosvenor had another man into the sin bin and the Clare pack won lineout ball for Coburn to go in for his second score and once more Clotworthy failed with the kick so it was 10-0 at half time.
The visitors started the second half well and their out half slotted over a drop goal to make it 10-3.Then a great run by J.J.Baird made the chance to put Weatherup in for a try on the right and this time Russell was just wide with the conversion. The home pack surged to the line and really should have scored. Next Weatherup kicked ahead and just missed getting a score. Again from a break by Baird and Jackson the home pack surged to the line for Logan and McGrugan to force the fourth try for a key bonus point.Russell was wide with the attempted conversion from out wide so it remained at 20- 3 to the home team. Grosvenor hit back despite having lost their out half injured forcing Clotworthy to clear to touch. Following another attack by a gutsy Belfast side Russell cleared and Ballyclare held on for a vital victory which might have been by a greater margin had the kicking and finishing been better. Team–J.Reid;G.Weatherup,J.Jackson,G.Clotworthy,J.J.Baird;I.Russell,C.Morrow;A.Boyd,A.Wylie,D.Montgomery;R.Boyd,A.McGrugan;N.Moore,W.Logan(capt),C.Coburn.
The Seconds made the trip to Fivemiletown and produced a good performance to beat Clogher Valley. They started with a penalty from G.Byers who showed well at scrum half. Clogher came back to lead 7-3 with a converted try but Matthew Crothers raced in for a try with Byers adding the points to edge 10-7 in front. Although Clogher kicked two penalties a try from the impressive hooker Ross Scott gave the Clare boys a narrow 15-13 interval lead.
In the second half the East Antrim side got on top and the pressure led to a score by Nial Lawther with Byers converting. The home side had a man sin binned and the Seconds had another try by Scott for Byers to add the points which took the lead to 29-13 for a well deserved win. There were strong performances up front by Scott and Crothers plus Lawther,Loughlin and Byers in the backs.
Tony Turner`s Thirds were rather unlucky to go down at Lisburn to a very late score from the side which included several Fijians.The Clare team did well to lead 12-10 at the interval following tries by Nick Beattie and Chris Hall plus a conversion from John Wasson. Alexander had missed an early penalty while Lisburn had a converted try and a penalty.
In a closely contested second half the Thirds kept up the pressure as centres Beattie and Hall both added further tries and Wasson converted one and also added a penalty. they led up to the closing minutes only to be outdone by a late score.According to skipper Turner there were strong performances up front by Birkmyre and Montgomery while Beattie and Hall were always sharp in mid field.
Ballyclare Under 15 XV travelled to Clogher Valley on Saturday morning to play Donegal in the final of the Ulster U.15 Shield. In a very closely fought affair the two sides were tied at 19-19 at the interval with the outstanding Donegal wing forward getting all his team`s points. The Clare lads had gone into an early 14-10 lead with scores by Ryan Lorimer and Jack Gowdy as well as conversions from Tom McGookin. In the second half Donegal added three more tries but Lorimer,McGookin and Robert Coulter plus a late score from the forwards took the Clare into a narrow lead which they held to the end. Team captain Jack Gowdy was presented with the trophy by a representative from the Ulster Branch afterwards and next Saturday (16th) the team and coaches are to have a celebratory dinner at the Cloughan.


In the Ulster Under 17 Cup semi final Ballyclare defeated Armagh 32-0 at the Cloughan and may now face Randalstown in the final.

They had tries from Calum Lyle(2),Jonathan Stoops Scott McComb and Zak Robinson.
FIXTURES—1st XV v C.I.Y.M.S. (home) Wednesday 7-30p.m. Friday-Sunday 1st XV Tour to Newcastle-on Tyne.

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