Report Ballyclare 1s 45 v Ards 1s 12

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Clare come from behind to ease past Ards.
Ballyclare recorded their first home win of the season on Saturday, recovering from an early deficit to put 45 unanswered points on visitors, Ards, in a powerful display at the Cloughan.
The pre-match reception was sponsored by Pestforce, with 5 Corners Guest Inn sponsoring the match ball and Mr Billy Johnston sponsoring Man of the Match.
Weather conditions were ideal for rugby as the sizeable crowd gathered pitch side hoping that Clare could emulate last week’s performance at Cooke.
Spectator’s nerves took a shredding early in the game as Ards stormed into a 12 point lead. Having missed a penalty attempt and with no more than 5mins on the clock, Ards first telling attack first drew play to the right and then quickly spread to the left where Clare’s stretched defence was found wanting when Ards touched down in the corner. After 10min Ballyclare players and spectators alike were left stunned when one of the strangest refereeing decisions seen at the Cloughan gifted Ards a penalty try. With Ards again attacking the left wing, Ballyclare were adjudged to have knocked on intentionally to stop the attack. Ards were between the Ballyclare 22 and 10 metre lines, close to the touchline. Ards were progressing well but with still work to do. Blowing immediately for the transgression the referee headed for the posts and raised his arm to signal a penalty try. With a Ballyclare defence running to cover the Ards attack, the decision that a certain try would have been scored was somewhat controversial. The bizarre situation was compounded when the ref showed a yellow card to wrong Ballyclare player for the transgression. With the easy conversion added, Ards had a 12 point lead.
The setback seemed to spark Ballyclare into life. A penalty kicked from Ards 10m line by Smith started the comeback. 3-12. Ballyclare were forcing most of the play in the Ards half, progression to the Ards line resulted in a number of recycled rucks. Willie Logan managed to get the ball over the line and with the conversion added the score was 10-12.
Dave Clarke on one of his characteristic barnstorming runs drew in the Ards defenders in attempts to stop him, at the next attack. At the breakdown around the centre of the pitch, the ball was passed to out half Niall Lawther, who ghosted past his opposite man, breaking the line and winning a race to the line to touchdown. Ballyclare were in front 15-12 at the break.
A penalty kicked by Smith in the first couple of minutes of the second period increased the lead. Ballyclare were now well on top, Ards undisciplined Fijian back row all had taken 10mins in the bin, their number 7 received a second yellow and subsequent red, giving Ballyclare numerical advantage for large parts of the game. A well-executed cross field kick by Lawther was gathered by left wing Reid who touched down in the corner to increase the score. Smith with the extra’s gave Ballyclare a 25-12 lead. The bonus point score came from centre Gary Clotworthy, breaking tackles to burst over the line. The attack was set up by a great take in the lineout by Michael Rainey and superb driving maul by the Ballyclare pack. The conversion and a further penalty by Smith increased the lead to 35-12. Right wing Ryan Tweed was next to score as he finished another powerful Clare attack.
Clotworthy got his second and Ballyclare’s sixth try, as the game drew to a close. Full time Ballyclare 45 Ards 12.
An excellent team performance, with the forwards dominating the set piece and backs creative in attack. The back row unit worked extremely well with Captain Gary Weatherup awarded Man of the Match, for his all-round energetic display.
The second XV travelled to take on a strong Bangor 2’s and suffered a second heavy defeat of the season. The 3’s travelled to Newry and came away 41-7 victors. A great all round team performance with scores for Heaney (2), Roger, Larmour, Montgomery and Gawn. A great display at 10 for Luke Montgomery, with Pyper and Larmour showing well in the backs. Tony Turner and Heaney led the forwards for a great win.
Next week Ards will not be looking forward to a return to the Cloughan in the 1st round of the Junior Cup. 2nd XV have their first home game against Dungannon 2’s while the 4’s travel to Monaghan.
Ballyclare 1st XV(1-15) M Finlay, R Scott, A Boyd, R Johnston, W Logan, P Robinson, G Weatherup, M Rainey, T McGookin, N Lawther, J Reid, D Clarke, G Clotworthy, R Tweed, R Smith.
Replacements; J McKinstry, K James

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