Ballyclare 5's got their first win of the season with a fine 36-10 victory away to Carrickfergus 4's. Following a delay to the kick off due to the team kit arriving late, the home side kicked an early penalty to go into the lead. Ballyclare kept their composure and hit back with a 2 well taken tries by Scott Wilson as well as 2 conversions and a penalty from Gareth Byers to lead 17-10 at half time. Ballyclare played some excellant rugby in the second half to take control of the game. A further try for Wilson as well as 1 each for Chris Coulter and Aaron Breen as well as 2 more conversions for Byers sealed the bonus point win. ... See MoreSee Less
Great day out at City of Armagh RFC for a combined P5/P6 team at the Aviva Mini Rugby Festival.
IrishRugby Another fun filled, action packed Aviva Minis festival in Armagh.
Take a look at the highlights from day, including a visit from Ulster and Ireland hooker Rob Herring, when the rain could not dampen the spirits of the 400 boys and girls who took part. ... See MoreSee Less
Ballyclare RFC is one of the options for Asda, Ballyclare Green Token Community programme. From now until 31st December 2018 any time you shop in Asda Ballyclare get the cashier to give you one of the Community Programme green tokens and post them in our box in store. If we win Asda will make a donation too the club that will be used for equipment for all sections of the club. ... See MoreSee Less
Ballyclare Rugby Club’s Clare Hares to host prestigious festival
An international rugby event for young people with a learning disability will be held in County Antrim next year.
The prestigious Wooden Spoon Tag Rugby Festival will take place at Ballyclare Rugby Football Club on Saturday, June 8th 2019.
The annual festival is sponsored by children’s rugby charity Wooden Spoon and is the largest event of its kind across the four home rugby nations. Tag rugby is a non-contact version of the sport. A tackle is made by pulling a tag from an opponent, there are no scrums or line outs and the games are restarted by a simple pass from the ground. Tries are scored in the normal way.
Clare Hares is the disability section of Ballyclare RFC and is sponsored by WJ Blair, Green Thumb and Voy Vets. Our enthusiastic local players will be joined by hundreds of young people from England, Scotland, Wales and across the four Irish provinces for the festival next year. There will be two age categories – under 15-years-old and over 15-years-old. There is no upper age limit. Each age group is further divided into two sections based on degree of learning disability.
The emphasis is on fun and enjoyment for all players, coaches and volunteers. As well as a series of matches with other clubs, the participating players and other visitors will be able to enjoy food stalls and entertainment provided by the club at its Cloughan ground, including bouncy castles and inflatable slides.
The event has full support from all four home unions – the Rugby Football Union, Scottish Rugby Union, Welsh Rugby Union and the Irish Rugby Football Union. There are currently 15 clubs with disability sections in Ulster - from Letterkenny in the north to Virginia in the south - and a further 24 clubs across Ireland. Ballyclare is the only one which is a partner club with Wooden Spoon. Club volunteers are organising the Ballyclare event and over 100 volunteers will be needed on the day of the festival. It is hoped that local schoolchildren will be among people willing to give up their time for this very worthwhile and fun event.
Moore Kennedy, founder and manager of Clare Hares, said: “It is a great honour for Ballyclare to be chosen as the hosts for the festival in 2019.
“We are very pleased to have been selected and intend to host the best Wooden Spoon festival ever. “Invitations have already gone out to all clubs with a learning disability section. We will be urging clubs with only a small section or only starting up to come along and they will be combined with another small club to ensure as many players as possible experience the event.
“The festival is a great opportunity for school children, especially those involved in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and those intending to take up a career in sport or child care, to gain experience relating to people with a learning difficulty.
“We are really keen to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer for the festival or provide sponsorship.
“The Clare Hare players, their families, coaches and our wider Ballyclare RFC family are really looking forward to what we know will be an inspiring day of rugby.” For more information on the festival, sponsorship or volunteering opportunities, contact Moore Kennedy on email firstname.lastname@example.org
In recent years, the Wooden Spoon Festival was held in Belfast, Shrewsbury, Limerick, Oxford and Greystones. ... See MoreSee Less
Ballyclare’s fantastic start to the season continued at a very wet Cloughan on Saturday, where Cooke as visitors, were defeated 34-5 in a dominant home performance. The victory gave Ballyclare their fifth straight bonus point league win of the season.
Before kick-off, at the pre-match lunch kindly supported by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, President David Campbell welcomed Deputy Mayor John Smyth as well as Councillors Vera McWilliam and Jim Bingham. As well as the guests from Cooke RFC, also welcomed were some representatives of sponsors of mini rugby at the club. Declan Flynn from Lisney Estate Agents and Alan McNally from Page Setup Design attended as did Louden French and Scott Edmondson from Country Estates. Representatives from Woodside Haulage and Antrim Hills water were unavailable to attend. Club Patron Peter Caldwell, kindly sponsored the match ball and past president Robin Byers the Man of the Match award. Rain had been persistent all morning and by kick-off there was no let up, floodlights were opted on from the start as the dark gloomy sky showed no signs of brightening up. There was virtually no wind but the rain continued the entire game.
From the kick-off Ballyclare were awarded a penalty, when Cooke infringed at the ruck. Robbie Reid gave Ballyclare an early 3-0 lead. Following ten minutes of pressure inside the Cooke half, Ballyclare got their first try. A searching kick deep into the Cooke 22 was gathered by the Cooke full back whose attempted clearance kick was charged down by a chasing Stewart Cusick. The powerful winger chased the ball as it shot into the Cooke goal area and touched down to score. Reid was just wide with the conversion attempt. Ballyclare continued to mount attacks into the Cooke 22. A clever kick through and behind a rushing Cooke defence by play maker Robbie Reid saw Gary Clotworthy gather and crash over in the left hand corner. Reid’s conversion was good, 15-0. There was no further score in the first half, the conditions making handling difficult at times. The home supporters, huddled under umbrellas, were hopeful of Ballyclare scoring more tries in the second half.
Cooke showed some great determination in maintaining possession of the ball which saw them on the Ballyclare try line, under the posts. Unfortunately for Cooke, a knock on halted the attack as a scum was awarded. Ballyclare quickly turned defence into attack when from the resulting scrum, No.8, Ryan Tweed spotted a gap and picked up, bursting his way to near the 22. Eventually a Cooke player stopped Tweed’s progress. He popped the ball up to the supporting Aaron Playfair who carried the ball to half way. Playfair punted the ball deep into the Cooke 22 and chased. Cooke had to put the ball into touch to clear the danger. From the lineout, Ballyclare looked certain to score, first setting up a rolling maul, then as momentum waned the ball was whipped out the back line where Joel McBride looked to be heading in to score at the posts but was stopped just short. Ballyclare were penalised at the ruck, allowing Cooke to clear.
A training ground move was executed to perfection at a line out close to the Cooke line. A low throw to Robert Boyd, was returned to hooker Matthew Coulter, who couldn’t be stopped from going in at the corner for Ballyclare’s third try. Reid conversion attempt just missed. 20-0 The in-form Joel McBride, finished another impressive move by Ballyclare for the bonus point fourth try. From a lineout around the Cooke 10m line, the ball was secured and passed out the backs, gathering pace and advancing towards the Cooke line, Joel McBride cut a superb line, cutting through the Cooke defence evading tackle attempts to score under the posts.
The formality conversion was scored by Robbie Reid. With 12 minutes remaining Cooke scored a consolation try when a quickly taken tapped penalty caught Ballyclare off guard. A Cooke player burst into the Ballyclare 22, where a quicker to react Cooke created an overlap wide left and were able to score in the corner. 27-5
Ballyclare added a fifth try as the clock ticked down. Some fearless runs from Dean Jones forced Cooke back, in their own 22. From a ruck on the Cooke line Ryan Tweed broke off and scored wide left, Reid’s conversion ended the game. 34-5. A good win in difficult conditions to maintain the excellent start to the season. Ballyclare’s front row were awarded the MoM award en masse for their dominant performance in the scrums all day.
Ballyclare’s next game is in a fortnight’s time (27th October) when they travel to Clifden, Co. Galway, to play Connemara in the first round of the All Ireland Junior Cup.
Ballyclare 1st XV (1-17) D Jones, M Coulter, R Henderson, R Boyd, G Bartley, A Playfair, G Weatherup, R Tweed, A Eastop, R Reid, M Johnston, J McBride, W Stewart, S Cusick, G Clotworthy, J Black, C Wilson.
Three other Ballyclare teams played on Saturday in their respective cups. At Ballyclare, the 2nd XV defeated Ballynahich 5’s, 43-5 in the Crawford Cup first round. Sam Caldwell and Ross Patterson scored a brace each. Nick Beattie, Matthew Robson and Chris Gillen scored a try each. Chris Gillen also kicked four conversions. The 3rd XV were defeated away to Banbridge 4th XV in the Forester Cup whilst at Orangefield Park, the 4th XV overcame old cup rivals Malone 4th XV. There were tries for Andy Crowe, Marc Fox, Stevie Bailie, Ian Heaney, James Logan and Steve Morrow. Dave Crawford also scored a try and five conversions in an emphatic 45-7 win.
Next week the 2nd XV game against Queens has been postponed to allow the students to play in a student tournament in Cork. That leaves the 5th XV as the only Ballyclare side in action, away to Carrickfergus 4’s.
Ballyclare RFC consolidated their position at the top of Kukri Championship League Division 1 with a bonus point win away to league newcomers, Grosvenor RFC. The home side succumbed to their first league defeat since 31st December 2016, having won Division Two with 18 straight wins last season.
On a bright dry day the game was played on the third pitch at Gibson Park, with the pitch size and condition somewhat less than Ballyclare have been used to of late. A strong blustery breeze blew across the pitch. Coach McKeever had to reshuffle his pack again welcoming the returning from injury Robert Boyd, Dean Jones and Stewart Cusick into the starting 15.
Ballyclare kicked off and were soon inside the Grosvenor 22. Michael Kirk progressed down the left wing as Ballyclare surged into the Grosvenor red zone. At the breakdown the ball was quickly moved right, finding Joel McBride, who ran in, wide right for the opening score. Robbie Reid’s well struck conversion kick, into the wind was good, giving Ballyclare an early lead. 0-7 When Grosvenor were awarded a penalty, just inside the Ballyclare half, from the restart, they elected to have a kick at goal, the ball rebounding off the right upright to stay out and was cleared to touch by Reid. From the resulting lineout, Grosvenor retained possession well, progressing towards the Ballyclare try line. Fast recycling and committed rucking saw the home side cross the line in the left hand corner for their opening score, the conversion was pushed wide. 5-7
On 20mins, Grosvenor took the lead with a penalty to go 8-7 in front, and 5 mins later missed another long range attempt. Ballyclare were forcing much of the play in the Grosvenor half, with the home side committed in their defending. From an attacking line out on the edge of the Grosvenor 22, Ballyclare moved the ball at pace out the backs. Gary Clotworthy hit a great line from full back to power over for Ballyclare’s second try, wide right again. Reid’s conversion hung in the wind but got over for an 8-14 lead at half time.
Ballyclare increased their lead early in the second half. Progressing inside the Grosvenor 22, Reid flashed a miss pass out to left wing Michael Kirk who finished well in the left corner. The conversion attempt was just wide. 8-19
Following another period of sustained pressure, inside the Grosvenor half, the referee yellow carded a Grosvenor player for slowing the play at a ruck. Robbie Reid kicked the resulting penalty to edge Ballyclare further in front. 8-22 Ballyclare regrouped from the restart and went on the hunt for the valuable bonus point fourth try which was scored by replacement full back Matthew Johnstone who finished another sweeping back line move wide left. Reid was again successful with the conversion. In a loose final 10 mins of the game Grosvenor hit back with a converted score before Joel McBride intercepted a pass inside the Grosvenor 22 to score Ballyclare’s fifth try of the afternoon. Grosvenor never gave up and scored a consolation third try under the posts in the last play of the game. The full time whistle sounding as the conversion went over.
Full time Grosvenor 22 Ballyclare 34
Ballyclare’s next fixture is at home next week, 13th October, when Cooke are the visitors.
Ballyclare 1st XV (1-17) D Jones, M Coulter, R Henderson, R Boyd, G Bartley, A Playfair, G Weatherup, R Tweed, A Eastop, R Reid, M Kirk, J McBride, W Stewart, S Cusick, G Clotworthy, J Black, M Johnstone
At The Cloughan the 2nd XV and 5th XV lost out to more experienced opposition in Dungannon 2nd XV and Ballymoney 4th respectively. The 4th XV had a hard fought 19-18 win away at Academy 2nd XV. The 4’s points scores were Stephen Bailie with 2 tries, Andy Crowe got 1. John Wasson kicked 2 conversions. Fixtures for Saturday 13th October see the 1st XV’s league campaign continue, whilst the 2’s, 3’s and 4’s all have first round games in their respective cups.
1st XV v Cooke 2nd XV v Ballynahinch 5’s Banbridge 4 XV v 3rd XV Malone 4 XV v 4th XV
It was a bitter sweet day for Ballyclare’s Joel McBride on Saturday, as his well taken hat-trick of tries wasn’t enough, as Ballyclare exited the Junior Cup in a high scoring, entertaining encounter in Dromore. The home side outscored Ballyclare, 6 tries to 5 at a dry breezy Barban Hill.
Dromore started the game strongly and were 10-0 up within 5 mins. From Dromore’s kick-off Ballyclare went offside at the ruck. Dromore kicked the long range penalty to take an instant lead. From the restart Ballyclare were again penalised allowing Dromore to kick deep to the right hand corner. From the line-out Dromore worked the ball left being shepherded well by Ballyclare. When the ball was switched right there was room for the right wing to run in to score. On 15 mins Ballyclare progressed into the Dromore 22, working the ball left and right stretching the home defence. A break by Grant Bartley set up another attack, on contact the captain off loaded to Joel McBride who powered in to open the scoring for Ballyclare. A well struck Smith conversion brought Ballyclare within 3.
By a half hour gone , Dromore had scored 2 more converted tries, efficiently recycling the ball deep inside Ballyclare territory exploiting gaps in Ballyclare’s defence for both. Impressive attacking play led to another converted try for Dromore. Ballyclare were next on the scoreboard before half time when from a scrum just inside the Dromore half, the ball was moved right, a pass by Smith found McBride who ran in again to score. Smith’s conversion left the half time score 31-14.
Ballyclare burst into life in the early part of the second half, when slick movement of the ball saw the visitors progress towards the Dromore line. Matthew Robson was caught just short of the line, the ball was quickly recycled through the half backs to Joel McBride for the centre to score his hat trick. The conversion was pushed just wide. 31-19. When Dromore were within range, when Ballyclare were penalised in defence again, Dromore’s scrum half, Lee Steenson, who had a 100% record with the boot on the day, added 3 points to the Dromore score line. 34-19.
The end to end game continued with Ballyclare next to score. Paul Robinson broke from the back of a scrum on the Dromore 5m line. Robinson offloaded to his supporting backrower Aaron Playfair, who scored towards the right hand corner. The conversion attempt into the wind was missed. With 10 points separating the sides, the next score would be crucial. Scrums were now unopposed due to injuries in the Dromore front row and Ballyclare’s Robert Smith exiting the game with a knee injury. At an attacking, unopposed scrum on Ballyclare’s 10m line, Dromore broke left, a missed tackle allowing them to score out wide. The successful conversion pushed Dromore into a 41-24 lead, as the clock ran down. Ballyclare scored a 5th try, when from a ruck inside the Dromore 22 the ball was played to the blind side where Willie Stewart took a pass at pace progressing towards the line before releasing Callum Wilson to score in the corner. 41-29
Dromore got a sixth converted score before full time, for a deserved win, 48-29. The Co Down side progress to the quarter finals.
Ballyclare will work things out at training this week before next week’s league game away to Grosvenor.
Ballyclare 1st XV (1-17) R Henderson, M Coulter, J Black, R Tweed, G Bartley, M Robson, A Playfair, P Robinson, A Eastop, R Smith, M Kirk, J McBride, W Stewart, C Wilson, G Clotworthy, A Boyd, R Reid
In a bad weekend for Ballyclare RFC, the 2nd XV lost away to Rainey 2’s whilst the inaugural outing of the newly reformed 5th XV resulted in defeat to Ballymena 5’s. The 4th XV’s game against Hinch 6’s was cancelled as Ballynahinch couldn’t field a team.
The U14 and U16 had good wins away to Ards to start their season, the U18 also got the points as Ards didn't field at this age group.
Matches Saturday 6th October
Grosvenor v 1st XV 2nd XV v Dungannon 2nd XV Academy 2nd XV v 4th XV 5th XV v Ballymoney 4th XV Above all 2.30pm
Big weekend of rugby this weekend with 4 of our senior teams in action as well as our youth teams who start their season away to Ards. Good luck to our newly reformed 5th XV as they take to the field for the first time.
All senior games KO 2.30pm. Sidelines support is always appreciated. ... See MoreSee Less
Ballyclare’s early season fine form continued at a busy Cloughan on Saturday. Portadown RFC were visitors, a packed clubhouse enjoyed another delicious lunch by our Chef, Laurence McSparron.
The match was kindly sponsored by Lambert Smith Hampton. Also in attendance were representatives of our valued 1st XV shirt sponsors, Colin Graham Residential, Amplifi Solutions Ltd and GES Group. The club is very appreciative of these companies support along with the other sponsors who were unavailable to attend, Page Setup Design, Antrim Hills Water and Hagans Leisure. The match ball was sponsored by Michael Kernahan and Man of The Match award by Mark McCalmont.
At kick off time the conditions were good for rugby. Ballyclare started brightly and were soon inside the Portadown 22. A driving break by Joel McBride was stopped just short of the line. The ball was quickly recycled right, where a long miss pass found right wing Callum Wilson whose pace got him over in the corner, Wilson cut in, in goal, to leave an easier conversion for Smith. 7-0
A Robbie Reid darting run started another dangerous Ballyclare attack as the home side surged into the visitors 22 again. A wayward miss pass attempt was intercepted and a long foot race looked on, with Ballyclare up flat. The ref, who was playing advantage, blew to bring back play for an earlier Portadown transgression but Matthew Coulter looked to have the run covered anyway. Robert Smith kicked the resulting penalty to put Ballyclare 10-0 up at the end of the first quarter. Ballyclare were soon inside the Portadown 22 again. Aaron Playfair pulled a highish pass out of the air before cutting a great line and making good ground before releasing the supporting runner Ross Johnston to score to the right of the posts. Smith’s conversion caught the right hand upright to stay out.
A superb team effort for Ballyclare’s third try, finished well by Ballyclare’s in form left wing Michael Kirk. Callum Wilson on the right wing, who was having a great game with many penetrating runs with ball in hand, started the attack. With Wilson bursting into the Portadown half before getting stopped. Andy Eastop got the ball away quickly at the breakdown, it was moved slickly through the backline to left wing Kirk, now inside the 22, who ran in to score. Another Smith conversion put Ballyclare into a strong 22-0 lead. On 30 minutes Portadown scored a converted try. From a scrum inside the home 22, Portadown broke down the right blindside and crossed in the corner. The conversion was good for Portadown to pull seven back by the break. Halftime Ballyclare 22 Portadown 7
Portadown kicked a penalty early in the second half, to make it 22-10. When Portadown were penalised for taking Grant Bartley out in the air at a line out, Robbie Reid struck the penalty into the corner for another lineout. A misfiring Ballyclare lineout failed to repossess the ball, overshooting the line. Portadown knocked on at the tail and the loose ball was gifted to Ross Johnston who powered over the line for his second, and Ballyclare’s fourth try of the afternoon. The dependable Robert Smith hit the conversion. With 20 minutes to go Captain Grant Bartley picked up an ankle injury at a line out inside the Portadown 22. Play continued, the ball was rucked before being popped up to centre Willie Stewart to crash over to score. Portadown pulled back another converted try before Ballyclare scored another excellent try. Ballyclare made ground on the right, the ball was moved in centre field, where hooker Matthew Coulter crashed the ball up before setting up the ruck. The ball continued to be moved left, through hands to Aaron Playfair, involved in the loose play again. He offloaded to Michael Kirk who sprinted in for his second try. Smith added the two extra for a 41-17 Ballyclare advantage.
Portadown on occasion mounted some useful attacks of their own and scored their third of the day with their powerful running right wing involved. Ballyclare’s man of the match, Joel McBride, deservedly got Ballyclare’s seventh and final try of the game. A skilful chip kick, over the heads of an oncoming Portadown defence by out-half Smith, saw McBride quickly chase and gather to score, capping an excellent performance from full back, always dangerous in attack and dependable in defence. Smith’s fifth conversion finished the game. Ballyclare claiming their fourth consecutive bonus point win. A very entertaining game with the back row of Playfair, Weatherup and Johnston busy in attack and defence and the whole backline looking very sharp. Ballyclare travel to Dromore next week for a tough second round Junior Cup fixture, where all travelling support will be appreciated.
Ballyclare 1st XV (1-17) Rory Henderson, Matthew Coulter, Jack Black, Ryan Tweed, Grant Bartley, Aaron Playfair, Gary Weatherup, Ross Johnston, Andy Eastop, Robert Smith, Michael Kirk, Willie Stewart, Robbie Reid, Callum Wilson, Joel McBride, Al Boyd, Gary Clotworthy.
Ballyclare RFC travelled to Ballynahinch RFC to play the home clubs 2nd XV in the first Conference League fixture of the season. On the sixth anniversary of the tragic death of Nevin Spence, his father Noel and brother Graham a respectful minutes silence was held prior to kick off. The club flag at Ballynahinch also flew at half-mast.
The Ballymacaran Park pitch was in great condition, the weather was dry and overcast with a blustery breeze blowing towards the clubhouse. Ballyclare played with the wind on their backs in the first period. There were seven changes in the Ballyclare match day squad, with Al and Robert Boyd starting in the front and second rows respectively. Robert Boyd partnered Ryan Tweed in the second row. Ross Johnston took the number 8 position. Lewis Cahill made his competitive debut when prior to kick, Joel McBride was ruled out with a back problem. Michael Kirk took the left wing berth, Callum Wilson the right, with Matthew Johnstone at full back. Ryan McIlwaine and Jordan Birnie took places on the bench.
The Hinch kick off failed to go 10 metres into the wind and the two sides were brought back for a scrum in the centre of the field. Ballyclare won the scrum and swept the ball left. A well timed pass by Lewis Cahill released Michael Kirk, who cut infield, avoiding the Hinch tackle attempts to score under the posts. Robert Smith converted to give Ballyclare an early lead. Kirk scored again soon afterwards with Smith adding the conversion to double the Clare lead. Hinch hit back when, from a lineout on the edge of the 22, the home side set up a driving maul which was failed to be dealt with by Ballyclare. Hinch mauled over the line to score wide left of the posts and failed to convert.
On twenty minutes Aaron Playfair chased a kick downfield putting the Hinch winger under pressure as he went to collect the ball. The loose ball was gathered by Ballyclare and spread right where Robert Smith found the gap to score. Smith took a heavy hit as he crossed the line, leaving Gary Clotworthy to kick the conversion. At half time the score was 21-5 to Ballyclare with the visitors in control.
A mix up in defence at the start of the second half presented Hinch with a try, which they converted to pull back to 21-12. Callum Wilson was next to score for Ballyclare. On the edge of the 22, Ballyclare swept the ball to the right wing, where Wilson broke through the Hinch defence and sped in to score under the posts. Smith added the conversion. Hinch again hit back with a score under the posts to pull back to 28-19 before Ryan Tweed received a pass on the wing and ran in to score in the left hand corner. The conversion attempt into the wind was just missed. The final whistle sounded just after to cement a bonus point win.
Ballyclare return to The Cloughan next week for a Championship 1 game against Portadown.
Ballyclare 1st XV ( 1-17) D Jones, M Coulter, A Boyd, R Tweed, R Boyd, A Playfair, G Weatherup, R Johnston, A Eastop, R Smith, M Kirk, G Clotworthy, L Cahill, C Wilson, M Johnstone, J Birnie, R McIlwaine.
At Deramore Park, Ballyclare 2nd XV slipped to an uncharacteristic heavy defeat against Belfast Harlequins 2nd XV whilst at The Cloughan Foxy’s 4’s started their league campaign with a splendid 43-24 win against Bangor 3’s. John Wasson got a try and four conversions. There was a try each for Stevie Bailie, Matt Dailly, James Logan and Phil Moan. Andy Holmes scored two.
Fixtures Saturday 22nd September 1st XV v Portadown Queens 3 v 3rd XV ... See MoreSee Less
Ballyclare hold out against strong challenge from Enniskillen. Following last week’s home victory against one of the previous seasons promoted sides Carrickfergus, Enniskillen, also promoted from Championship 2 last season, […]