Tense finish as Clare Win again Report + Shots!

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Ballyclare 1st XV played their first home game in Qualifying 1 for several years after last season`s promotion. The visitors were Dromore who had also got off to a fine start the week before against Cooke.This one was sponsored by the ex Presidents of the Cloughan based club and played in wonderful conditions between two fully committed sides.Ballyclare were missing fly half Niall Lawther and full back Gareth Byers but they introduced Beasant at full back and Smith at out half who returning after injury proved one of the outstanding players on the field Early home pressure led to a penalty on four minutes and Smith gave the Clare a 3-0 lead.Again Dromore were caught off side and the home fly half drilled a deep kick well into the 22 but play became more even as an error in defence by the home team allowed Dromore to scorch upfield with wing Houston getting a deserved but soft try that Steenson could not convert – CLICK HERE for two Albums of shots from this game
Great work from Smith brought another home penalty and the fly half converted to regain the lead at 6-5 Ballyclare`s pack dominated the scrums but Dromore managed to do well in the loose with fast supporting runs another attack exposed the home defence as their full back McClearnan got over for another unconverted try. Play continued to see saw back and forth with the Co.Down men now 10–6 to the good. A great break at pace from Smith should have led to a score but he lacked immediate support However the pack had remained inside the 22 and a good line break from Clarke ended with prop Dave Lawther like last week surging over to get atry in the corner which gave his team a narrow 11-10 lead Then the lead again changed when Steenson kicked a penalty for Dromore before the mid field home trio of Smith,Crawford and Clarke made ground to force the visitors off side and Smith kicked the penalty to edge 14-13 ahead. Sadly for the Clare failure to clear the ball enabled McDonald to get a try that was converted by Steenson which put Dromore 20-14 up at the break.
Ballyclare had brought on the veterans Logan and Finlay in the pack and they continued to rule the roost in the scrums early in the second half when Dromore were less of an attackink force.Concerted home pressure gave Smith a chance with a tricky penalty that he slotted over only for Cobb to reply similarly for the visitors so it was now 23-17 to the BarbanHill men and many of their officials believed that they had done enough.They were caught off side again and this time from well out Smith slotted the kick to cut the lead to 23-20. Now well into the last quarter Ballyclare were finishing the stronger side up front after great work from skipper Rab Boyd, Logan,Weatherup until he came off with a knee injury,Chambers and the returning Jordan McKInstry plus the non stop Lawther. They drove into the 22 and were awarded alate penalty that many thought should have been kicked to get a draw but wisely they took a scrum as Dromore had their hooker in the bin. Morrow lonked with Logan and the ex Ulster Junior back row forward was unstoppable as he went in to score out wide and this time Smith was just wide with the kick. Now 25-23 in front a good deal of injury time was played but Ballyclare managed to keep control of the ball and hold on for a narrow but brave win in what was reckoned to kave been a fine game by both sets of supporters.Man of the match award sponsored by Clare President Ken Wylie was shared by Robert Smith and WIllie Logan
Ballyclare -S.Beasant;M.Kirk,D.Clarke,DCrawford,J.Greer;R.Smith,C.Morrow;A.Boyd,A.Wylie,D.Lawther;R.Boyd (capt),G.McKinstry;G.Weatherup,D.Chambers,J.McKinstry; Subs -W.Logan,M.Finlay;
The Clare 2nd XV were disappointed to go down 44-27 away to C.I.Y.M.S 2nds at Belmont in their opening game in Junior 1
This Saturday only the 3rds and 4ths have games -the former away to Carrick 3rds and the latter at home to Portadown 4ths..,..

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