FEATURE: Video Clip, Interviews & Pictures – Ballyclare IV 43 v Ballynahinch VII 3 incl Ballyclare Rugby, Club Notes. The Fiercely Competitive McCambley Cup

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The McCambley Cup is one of the bastions of grass roots rugby. Youngsters, die hards, veterans, up and coming youth, you will meet them all in a McCambley Cup Tie.Fiercely competitive, the draw each year is a major event in this very old competition which brings the finalists to Ravenhill and grass roots glory.
Our own tournaments and cups section has some info on the history of the cup and winners over the year CLICK HERE.


Ballyclare Rugby Club 1st XV were due to play University of Ulster (Coleraine) in a Qualifying 2 league game at the Cloughan on Saturday but the thaw after the snow and frost had caused the ground to be saturated and the match was called off on Friday. Perhaps it was rather ironical that the weather on Saturday was the mildest for several weeks but the only game to go ahead was the McCambley Cup first round tie for the unbeaten Fourths who made the trip to Ballynahinch Sevenths and won comfortably 43-3. This takes John Wasson`s side into the second round which actually is their next game due for 8th January. On Saturday neither the Seconds nor the Thirds had league games.
Towns Cup Draw
Last week the draw was made for the first round games in the Provincial Towns Cup which are to be played on 8th january. But Ballyclare were given a bye to the second round to be played on 5th February.
John Wasson`s Fourths had not played a game for a month but were able to field a strong side at Ballynahinch where they had to play on a narrow and heavy back pitch.Having recorded an earlier league win over the Hinch 6th XV they were expected to dominate in this McCambley Cup tie.They did control most of the game and actually had no fewer than three tries not given by the referee.But up front they had superb performances by Gareth Ferguson and the veteran Paul Sempey who made a series of charging runs through the opposition. This plus non stop running from the back row of Peel,Wright and Gaston forced the Hinch to defend for long periods. In the first half the Clare boys played up the slope and got an early try when Cavan Watson broke away from a scrum to score out wide with Wasson converting. Mid way through the half following another scrum Artie campbell made the opening for Nial Lamont to power over for a try again converted by Wasson and a 14-0 lead. Wasson also kicked a penalty from a wide angle to put his side 17-0 ahead. From a strong run by Ferguson Barnett got over for a try which was seen by everyone apart from the official! So it remained at 17-0 at the interval.
Playing down the slope in the second half the Fourths back row managed to take control with several strong runs from the evergreen Gaston. One of these led to a score for scrum half Watson after the home side had lost posession. Then in a rare successful back movement Mark Fox who had replaced Reynolds cut inside to get a try which Wasson converted to go 29-0 ahead. After this Watson was sin binned and the Hinch managed a consolation penalty.But the visitors hit back as Luke drove over from a five metre scrum and Wasson added the points for a 36-3 lead.Near the end a powerful drive by the Clare pack led to prop Gary Ashe going in for a try again converted by the reliable Wasson. On two occasions Sempey was over the home line and at least once had touched down but failed to get the decision.
This was a good win without the team playing their best but the back row were excellent plus Ashe, Sempey and man of the match Ferguson all in the pack . In the backs Wasson had a good day with the boot and Watson was sharp at scrum half. The side remain unbeaten in 2010– long may it continue !
SATURDAY FIXTURES—- !st XV V Ballynahinch 2nds (Q.2 Conference) away; 2nd XV vInstonians 3rds (home); 3rd XV v Ballynahinch 5ths (home); 4th XV no match

The hinch side marshalled by their captain Andrew Napier (video interview below) never stopped battling and should real progress on various occasions with their ball carriers getting very very close to the try line, as with any hinch team, they will get better.

Excellent game! A lot of people are talking about this Clare side and the like of Ards & Ballymena will be keeping a close eye on these games as they will surely face this clare side soon.

CLICK HERE for 32 pictures of Ballnahinch VII v Ballyclare IV

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