Cup run ends at Shaw’s Bridge.
Ballyclare RFC exited the Junior Cup at the quarter final stage, going down 22-10 to holders Instonians at Shaw’s Bridge. A much improved on pitch performance from the Cloughan men from last week’s game at CI, but mistakes at crucial moments allowed Instonians scores against the run of play.
After a morning of heavy rain, Ballyclare kicked off in dry, bright conditions. Instonians exerted early pressure by kicking to the corners and trying to maul to the line, when in cup rugby, points would have been the smarter option. Ballyclare, able to clear their lines on a number of occasions countered the Instonians maul well.
From a Clare kick, deep into the Instonians 22, Instonians ran at the following Clare attack. Breaking through would be tackles, the Instonians out-half strong running saw him to half way. Swift inter-passing, beating the scrambling Clare defence saw Inst take the lead with a well worked try. The straight forward conversion was good, giving Instonians a 7-0 lead.
From the restart Ballyclare forced an error at the breakdown from Instonians, Robert Smith kicked the penalty to pull 3 points back.
Midway through the first half, a break by out half Lawther beat the Inst defensive line, a pass inside to the supporting Smith saw the try scored just to the right of the posts. Smith converted his own try to give Ballyclare a 10-7 lead. A missed penalty attempt by both sides just before half time saw Ballyclare in front at the break. Ballyclare however lost a player to the bin right at the end of the half.
Instonians responded at the start of the second period making their 1 man advantage count. Their left winger scored after 3 minutes of the second half to regain the lead, 12-10.
Ballyclare continued to attack, through some phases of enterprising play, but couldn’t break down a determined Inst defence. A wayward pass inside Ballyclare 22 was intercepted and flashed wide for Instonians to score again. They added a further score midway through the second period, swarming on a ball spilled by Ballyclare to run out 22-10 winners.
A solid Ballyclare performance, with errors proving costly for in the end. Great to see Robert Boyd back after several weeks of injury. Boyd and Logan carried the ball well for Ballyclare with the back row of Weatherup, Rainey and Robinson busy as usual. In the backs, Cusick and Clarke performed well, with Smith and Lawther showing creativity. Ballyclare return to Shaw’s Bridge in a few weeks for the first league fixture of the season between the two sides and with the errors checked look forward to that fixture.
The 4’s ran out comfortable 57-14 winners, against Grosvenor 3’s at home.
League action returns to the Cloughan next week, where Dromore and Instonians 3’s visit to play the 1’s and 3’s respectively.
Ballyclare 1st XV (1-15) D Lawther, R Scott, A Boyd, R Boyd, W Logan, P Robinson, G Weatherup, M Rainey, A Watson, N Lawther, R Tweed, S Cusick, D Clarke, A Butler, R Smith.
Replacements; J Reid & D Chambers