Congratulations to Stephen Crawford who attended the event.Thanks to everyone who attended our recent Volunteer Recognition Event at Kingspan Stadium.
Many of our activities and affiliated clubs could not survive without the involvement of passionate and dedicated volunteers who bring together a vast range of knowledge, skills and experience. ... See MoreSee Less
Ballyclare travelled to Portadown on Saturday knowing the need to obtain maximum points to continue to challenge for the title in their competitive league. The home side which had struggled in the first half of the season have rejuvenated since Christmas, appointing a new coach and had recorded some notable results.
Changes to the Ballyclare side saw Michael Kirk return to the wing, and Robert Boyd to the second row. Joel McBride also returned to the starting line-up. Matthew Coulter continued his return to full fitness with a spot on the bench.
For the second time in 3 matches, Ballyclare scored straight from the kick-off. Immediately going on the offensive Ballyclare surged into the Portadown 22 with a Willie Stewart carry. The ball was quickly moved to the right wing where Owen Kirk stayed strong to power in for the opening score. Robbie Reid slotted the conversion. 7-0 Portadown then enjoyed a good period of possession, recycling the ball effectively without making too much progression deep into Ballyclare territory. On 20 minutes Ballyclare were inside the Portadown 22 again, making steady progression. Portadown were penalised under their posts, Ballyclare elected to scrum, as their set piece had been on top in the early part of the game. The ball was secured as the scrum wheeled slightly to open up the right hand side of the pitch. A mistimed run/pass resulted in a knock on, denying what looked a certain score. Portadown won the ball on their own put in and kicked to safety. Portadown again enjoyed some possession and looked dangerous at times. On 35 minutes, at a line out in the Ballyclare half, Portadown won the ball and passed it back. A Portadown player ran straight through the Ballyclare forwards still in line out formation. The Portadown open side wing forward continued the run into the Ballyclare 22 breaking a tackle attempt. The ball was spread right where Portadown had an overlap on the right wing, running in to score. The conversion was added to leave the half time score 7-7.
Ten minutes into the second half following good work at a breakdown by Dave Clarke which forced Portadown to concede a penalty. A kick to the corner resulted in a line out. Ballyclare lost possession and Portadown cleared. This resulted in another line out further out from the Portadown line. Portadown robbed the ball, illegally, Ballyclare kicked to the corner again. The ball was won and passed out the backs. Willie Stewart hit the line and couldn’t be stopped to go in for a score. Reid again was successful with the conversion kick. 7-14.
The Ballyclare lead lasted for barely a minute. Portadown from the restart forced play in the middle of the pitch around the Ballyclare 22. The Portadown number seven broke through a last ditch tackle to score between the posts. With the conversion added it was all square. Portadown continued to pressurise Ballyclare with some determined play. They kicked a penalty soon after to take the lead for the first time 17-14. Ballyclare responded well and put together some good phases of play inside the Portadown half. Michael Kirk finished well to put Ballyclare back into the lead in the competitive match. Reid added his third conversion. 17-21
Ballyclare’s Gary Weatherup was given a yellow card for infringement at the breakdown leaving Ballyclare with 14 men for 10 minutes in the final quarter. Portadown kicked the resulting penalty to the corner and retained possession. Ballyclare resisted the first drive for the line but the ball was recycled, the second charge broke through the Ballyclare defence to score. The conversion was added to give Portadown a 24-21 lead as full time approached. Ballyclare looked to heading for their third league defeat of the season. A kick at goal which could have guaranteed a draw was turned down in favour of a kick to the corner. Ballyclare were going for it. Ballyclare lost the resulting line out allowing Portadown to clear. A losing bonus point was all that Ballyclare looked to be getting from the game.
In added time however, Ballyclare put together an impressive period of play. The ball was recycled through several phases close to the Portadown line before being moved to the right wing where Willie Stewart crossed the line in the corner for the bonus point fourth try. Reid made it four kicks from four with the conversion. Ballyclare celebrated as the final whistle sounded. 24-28
Ballyclare matched the bonus point wins of other title contenders Instonians and Dromore to remain two points clear at the top of the table. Grosvenor visit The Cloughan next week for what will be another keenly contested fixture.
Ballyclare 1st XV (1-17) D Jones, J Black, A Boyd, Robert Boyd, Grant Bartley, A Playfair, G Weatherup, D Clarke, A Eastop, R Reid, M Kirk, W Stewart, J McBride, O Kirk, G Clotworthy, M Coulter, N Lawther.
There were three matches played at The Cloughan on Saturday where the 2nd XV romped to a 13 try 70-0 win against Belfast Harlequins 2nd XV. The 3’s lost 45-0 against league leaders Queens 3’s. The 4’s played Malone 4’s who arrived at the Cloughan without a full side. This resulted in a one sided affair and an early stoppage. Paul Morrow scored 2 tries as well as a try each for Rick McKee, Colin Morrow, Marcus Hanna and Chris Coburn. Phil Moan also scored 2 tries in a man of the match performance. Dave Crawford and John Wasson were successful with 2 conversions each. 48-0 was the final result. Next week the 4’s play currently undefeated Randalstown 3’s in the QF of Forster Cup. ... See MoreSee Less