Clare down Dromore to go third
On the wettest Saturday of the season so far 90 people packed into the clubhouse for a sumptuous pre match lunch prior the Ballyclare’s game against Dromore. Karl Group were the generous sponsors. President Alistair Lindsay welcomed the guests from Dromore as well as the Ballyclare players who toured Holland in 1985, brought together again for the event by former President George McClure. The fledgling Ballyclare Ladies Rugby Team, their coach Teah Maguire and representatives from their sponsors, Tesco Northcott were also present. The match ball was sponsored by John Blayney, and the Man of the Match award by George McClure.
In very wet conditions, and the floodlights required from early on, Clare kicked off and immediately put Dromore under pressure. Dromore conceded a penalty in their attempts to contain the early Clare attack, Robert Smith converting to give Ballyclare an early lead. However from the restart Ballyclare were penalised, Dromore responded with a successful kick at goal to level the score. Dromore added a further penalty to take the lead, a second Smith penalty restored the balance. On 15 minutes the game sparked into life with a well worked Ballyclare try. Robert Smith broke the Dromore defensive line wide on the left, passed right, inside to Dave Clarke who continued at pace, a well-timed pass to the supporting David Chambers allowed him to score, just to the left of the posts. Smith added the conversion to give Ballyclare a 13-6 lead.
Dromore, now exerting some pressure inside Ballyclare half, failed to cut their deficit, when a kick from in front of posts was missed. A dominant first half display by Ballyclare was rounded off by a second try. A powerful run by centre Stewart Cusick was stopped just short of the line wide on the right. Winger Ryan Tweed was on hand to recycle the ball and power over the line. A well struck conversion, from wide, was added by Smith to give Ballyclare a 20-6 lead.
Ballyclare conceded a score early in the second half, Dromore scoring on the left wing having caught Ballyclare’s defence out with a swiftly moved ball. The conversion was good, bringing the score back to 20-13. Dromore added a penalty to narrow the difference by another 3, when Smith was adjudged to have knocked on intentionally. Smith received a yellow card for the transgression.
Into the final quarter, Ballyclare scored a third try, when from a lineout inside Dromore’s 22, Robert Boyd won the ball cleanly at two. The ball passed through 9 and 10, David Clarke hit the line at pace and powered his way to the line to score. Niall Lawther added the conversion in Smiths absence. 27-16
Right at the end of the game Dromore scored again and added the conversion to win a losing bonus point as the final whistle went giving Ballyclare a 27-23 victory.
Another great Ballyclare team performance. The front 8 played exceptionally well, the front row of Lawther, Chambers and Boyd had a very effective game. Robert Boyd carried the ball well and Michael Stevenson continually disrupting Dromore’s progress. Captain Gary Weatherup led, as usual, by example, tirelessly working at the breakdown. The backline all played their part in the win with Cusick and Clarke combining well in the centre, Ryan Tweed had a good game on the wing. Man of the match was awarded to Robert Smith whose all round running and kicking game caught the eye.
Ballyclare, currently sit third in the table having won 5 of their 8 league games to date. They have two weeks off now and return to league action on 5th December away to Instonians, to round off the first half of the league season.
The 3’s were also at the Cloughan on Saturday, but succumbed to a heavy defeat by a very strong Instonians 3’s
Next Saturday the 3’s make the journey to Donegal to play Inishowen, while the 4’s are at home against Lisburn 3’s.
Ballyclare 1st XV (1-15) D Lawther, D Chambers, A Boyd, R Boyd, M Stevenson, P Robinson, G Weatherup, W Logan, A Watson, N Lawther, R Tweed, S Cusick, D Clarke, A Butler, R Smith
Replacements; JJ Baird, R Scott