REPORT Ballyclare RFC 24 v Ards RFC 0

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Clare do the double over Ards
Returning to the scene of their 45-12 league defeat, Ards were again the visitors to the Cloughan for a Junior Cup 1st round encounter.
This week’s game was sponsored by GT HVAC Sales, with The Wayside Inn providing Match Ball Sponsorship and Mark McCalmont awarding this week’s Man of The Match award.
Both teams contained several changes. Ballyclare had Davy Chambers come it a hooker with Ross Scott switching to loose head. Michael ‘Slim’ Stevenson and Trevor McClintock came in at second row with Willie Logan moving back. Kris James started at out-half in place of the unavailable Lawther. Willie Rea and last year Ballyclare High School player Matthew Robson filled the replacement roles.
Lock Trevor McClintock unfortunately had to leave the pitch with an ankle injury 5min after the start of the game, introducing young Matthew Robson to the action earlier than planned. Ballyclare slowly started to establish dominance in the game but took a half hour to put points on the board. A couple of rucks close to the Ards line saw Ballyclare retain possession. 18 year old scrum half Tommy McGookin, whose performances have been getting ever more assured over the last few weeks, broke right with the ball in hand. Just before taking contact he slipped a superb under arm, “backdoor” pass to Gary Clotworthy who crossed for his 4th try in 3 matches. Robert Smith added the conversion. Smith added a penalty at the end of the half and brought the score to 10-0.
In the second half Ballyclare kept the territorial advantage, with Ards needing to resort to illegal measures to stop the Ballyclare attacks. Robert Smith punished the Ards infringements and kept the score board ticking in Ballyclare’s favour with 3 penalties. As the game was drawing to an end a dominant Ballyclare pack employed a rolling maul in pursuit of the Ards line. Paul Robinson touching down to make the score 24-0.
Another dominant display over last years all Ireland opposition. Ards never really mounted any real challenge to the Ballyclare line. The Cloughan men enjoyed a lot of possession and territorial advantage throughout the game. The back row unit again performed extremely well. Willie Rae when introduced, scrummaged purposefully. Matthew Robson performed well on his debut, but Man of The match was deservedly awarded to Thomas McGookin whose display at scrum-half brought many plaudits.
Ballyclare 1st XV; R Scott, D Chambers, A Boyd, M Stevenson, T McClintock, P Robinson, G Weatherup, W Logan, T McGookin, K James, J Reid, D Clarke, G Clotworthy, R Tweed, R Smith.
Replacements; W Rea, M Robson

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