Clare win with style in Ards
Ballyclare RFC travelled to Hamilton Park, Newtownards, on Saturday, looking to emulate the great performance and result against Omagh the week previously. Weather conditions were near perfect, dry and bright with light wind. Coach Mike McKeever was forced to make a few changes in the pack, due to unavailability’s, but was able to field the same attacking backline that played the week before. Paul Robinson returned to the backrow with Tweed moving to 8. Willie Rea and Dave Chambers started in the front row.
From the first whistle Ballyclare showed their intent, backs and forwards alike surged up the pitch, showing great skill and speed with inter-passing and ball retention. Ballyclare were bearing down on the Ards line, when Ards infringed at the ruck. An easy 3 points was overlooked in favour of the scrum. The ball was secured by the Clare pack and distributed. A tackle by Ards set up a ruck, as the forwards made their way from the scrum, Paul Robinson received a pass and cut through to touchdown. Byers added the conversion. There was barely 4 minutes on the clock. 0-7.
Byers pushed a penalty attempt wide just after as Ballyclare looked to progress the score board. Ards hit back with a try. Having got into Ballyclare’s half, Ards ran straight and hard. A couple of tackle attempts were ineffective, Clare defence was stretched and Ards went in at the corner. The conversion attempt was missed. 5-7. It wasn’t long before Ballyclare were again inside the Ards 22m. From a lineout, the ball was secured by Robert Boyd, a driving maul was set up and progressed towards the line. Ryan Tweed emerged from the pile up with the ball, as the maul crossed the line, increasing his try scoring form. 5-12
Ards struck a penalty, to pull 3 points back, before JJ Baird finished a move in the right corner. Ballyclare led 17-8 as the halftime whistle sounded.
Early in the second period, some slick passing found Dave Clarke with the ball. Clarke found the gap and powered over the line, under the posts. Byers added the conversion. The score was now 8-24, with the try bonus point secured. Gareth Byers was next on the scoresheet when he finished another flowing move by the Clare backs. The conversion was just missed. 8-29.
Ryan Tweed scored his second of the afternoon, when he was sent clear after a strong run from Paul Robinson. As Robinson approached the last Ards defender, he passed to Tweed, running in support to go under the posts for the touchdown. Robert Smith had joined the action from the bench and took over kicking duties, adding the extras. 8-36. Al Boyd, who had been enjoying a great game, got over the line to score Ballyclare’s seventh try. Ballyclare were mauling towards the Ards line, Al broke off, with the ball, a short powerful burst getting him across the line. Full time Ards 8 Ballyclare 41.
A convincing win for Ballyclare. A great team performance where the intensity of the forwards, led by example, by Captain Gary Weatherup and the hard running of the backs combined to secure a valuable bonus point win in pursuit of a top four league finish. Next week is Ballyclare’s last home game of the season, against Cooke, who have struck some form themselves and a big support would be welcomed.
At the Cloughan, the 2nd XV went down 20-18 to Bangor 2’s. Two Andy Watson penalties in the first half to a converted try and penalty by Bangor saw the home side trail 10-6 at half time. Trys from Michael Kirk and Watson in the second period couldn’t avoid another narrow defeat for the 2’s.
The 3’s and 4’s returned empty handed from their visits to Lisburn and Lurgan respectively.
Ballyclare 1st XV: (1-15) W Rea, D Chambers, A Boyd, R Boyd, W Logan, P Robinson, G Weatherup, R Tweed, T McGookin, G Clotworthy, JJ Baird, D Clarke, S Cusick, J Greer, G Byers.
Replacements; R Smith, M Stevenson
Bright and early this morning Ballyclare Ladies U15 team travelled to Enniskillen for their first league match.
The match started slow with Enniskillen scoring 2 early unconverted tries. Our girls came back hard and managed to work through several phases of play ending in a well earned score in from Megan Ellis and captain Layla Holden being unlucky in the conversion.
After another series of play and some hard tackles from both teams putting one of our own of the pitch and Enniskillen running in a further 2 unconverted tries the half time score was 20 – 5.
Second half was much better from both sides, a lot more continuity and team play! Ballyclare turned over play and Faye Haggan fell short of the try line with Enniskillen robbing the ball back and scoring again in the corner. Just short of the final whistle Skins took a quick tap penalty before Ballyclare were set up and scored for the final time leaving the final score at 30 – 5
Huge well done to all girls involved and congratulations to Enniskillen on their win! We look forward to hopefully playing DunClogher on Friday night in Ballyclare smile emoticon
Thank you to the travelling support today, great to have you on the side lines.