Ballyclare Rugby I XV 39 v Grosvenor Rugby I XV 27: Report + Action SHOTS LIVE HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Ballyclare Rugby Club 1st XV welcomed Grosvenor F.P. to the Cloughan on Saturday in Kukri Qualifying 2 and were given their toughest examination so far in fact the visitors took an early second half lead and were playing very positive attacking rugby until they lost strong back row forward Karayannis and had a front row forward yellow carded. two late tries for the Clare gave them a 39-27 win as well as another bonus point to stay top of the table.The game was sponsored by Reid Black Solicitors and the match ball by Bill McMullan of Kare Bears. The Clare brought in Mo Finlay at prop,Michael Kirk at flanker,moved Gareth Byers and Johnny Reid in the back line and had Adam Wardrop at full back. They did miss Gary Weatherup who was rested after an injury the previous week. This was always going to be a real test as Grosvenor hav e a win over Omagh and like Bob Young`s men play at pace and try and keep the ball alive – CLICK HERE for the shots!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ballyclare 2nd XV were due to travel to play Dungannon 3rds who could not field a team – in fact they have called off several of their matches to date. But the Clare 3rds went to Eaton Park and were crushed 64-7 by Ballymena 3rds though according to the Clare players it was the very experienced Ballymena 5ths that they actually faced.
Despite the heavy rain of Friday the Cloughan pitch was in good shape for this game and the home team made ground through Byers but Grosvenor countered with their back row and scrum half Ball showing pace. The home team stole posession and Reid raced through the middle to find Clotwothy who powered over for thetry converted by Byers and a 7-0 lead. The loose style of the home team seemed to suit the visitors who drove into the 22 and centre Coard got a well deserve try that was converted by Ball and the home crowd knew this was no easy opposition. the Wardrop temporarilly lost possession but recovered to make ground up the right. From the next lineout a superb jinking run from Lawther brought him a great solo try which Byers converted to again go ahead 14-7
But the home team began to give away penalties and from the first one Ball cut the lead to 14-10 Lawther then kicked deep and made another break which should have led to another score but Kirk just failed to hold a tricky pass.Grosvenor were off side at the next ruck and Byers penalty increased the home lead.Then a break by Logan and Morrow made a chance for Greer who was halted near the line.But though these chances were not taken Lawther again beat the visitors defence and Wardrop did well to go in for the try that was not converted.At this stage hooker Wylie had to go off in jured but returned later in the second half.Close to half time Grosvenor made the home 22 despite a forward pass and their impressive number 8 Karayanniswent over for the score out wide with Ball converting to give them a foothold at 22-17.Byers was halted on the 22 as Ballyclare tried to counter on the half time whistle.
Grosvenor started strongly in the second half with Wylie still on the sidelines and for the first time the city team created problems for the home side.Ballyclare were off side and the accurate Ball slotted the kick to make it even closer.Byers was just short with a penalty to the home team but the Clare were now making uncharacteristic errors and Grosvenor surged into the home 22 for Allen to beat a tackle by Wardrop to score on the left with Ball again converting to put his team 27-22 ahead and it really was game on for both teams.
Ballyclare did respond with skipper Boyd,Logan and the McKinstry duo driving deep into the visitors half and the city team lost back rower Karayannis injured. Ballyclare drove on to the line and should have scored With Wylie back on the balance swung to the home team when Grosvenor had a prop yellow carded. Again the Clare were held up on the line but a strong run by Logan allowed Morrow to get in for that vital fourth try converted by Byers to regain the lead at 29-27.However Grosvenor showed their desire by getting up to the home 22 only to be thwarted by Wardrop who broke out at pace and Clotworthy beat two defenders to give Reid the pass to score wide on the left.The Clare now appeared to have control even when the opposition prop returned. A great clearance from Clotworthy and arun by Morrow gave Byers the chance but he was held up inside the 22. Wardrop was also stopped close to the line but Morrow kicked ahead in the next attack and the home pack drove to the line for Morrow to nip in to get his second try of the gamein the left corner . This made the score 39-27 to the league leaders and what at one time looked to be a mini crisis was over. Grosvenor had pushed the Clare and were unlucky to lose a man but home skipper Rob Boyd reckoned the home team had not been anywhere near their best and they had four scoring chances go abegging. Man of the match was centre Clotworthy with both Morrow and Lawther pushing for that accolade.
Team -A.Wardrop;G.Byers,J.Reid,G.Clotworthy,J.Greer; N.Lawther,C.Morrow; A.Boyd,A.Wylie,M.Finlay;G.McKinstry,R.Boyd (capt) ;J.McKinstry,W.Logan,M.Kirk
In Youth games the Ballyclare teams made the long trip to Donegal. The Under 17Xv lost 19-5 and the Under 15 Xv won 17-15; no details available from Under 13Xv;;
Saturdays Fixtures -1st XV v Academy (away)-An appeal goes to Clare supporters to come along to Roughfort and get behind the team for this local derby -Academy lie in 3rd place in the league; 2nd Xv v Coleraine 2nds (home); 4th Xv v Ballymena 4ths (home) No games for the Youth teams. .

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