THE final kick of the game proved to be crucial as Ballyclare III narrowly lost their Crawford Cup clash with Queen’s III.
With only seconds remaining, the 14-man hosts were clinging on to a 20-15 lead at The Cloughan, but then the students surged over in the corner to level the scores. Their kicker held his nerve from the conversion attempt for memorable 22-20 win.
Generally the ‘Clare pack had the edge in muddy conditions but it was the visitors who opened the scoring with a penalty.
Ballyclare hit back with the first try of the game, when Turner went in for a score that Stephen Beasant was unable to improve upon.
Scrum-half Beasant continued to drive his pack forward with astute kicking, and this tactic paid off when Ian Holmes took his side’s tally to double figures with a second unconverted score.
Ballyclare lost little time improving upon that 10-3 lead at the interval, when Robinson fed Davy Tweed who crossed for a score that Beasant goaled.
Queen’s reduced the deficit with an unconverted score, but soon afterwards Beasant was on target again to stretch the lead to 20-8.
When a home player was sin-binned, the students took full advantage of their numerical superiority to register a converted score to trail by just five points.
And one minute from time Queen’s landed an equalising try, and then came the winning kick in added time.
Ballyclare 4th XV secured an amazing 28-21 in at Stormont against Civil Service II. Scores by Aaron Weir and John McDonald - one of which was converted by John Wasson - who also added two penalties, gave Ballyclare a healthy 18-6 lead at the interval.
‘Clare lost Stevie Crawford and John McDonald to separate injuries, so the visitors were left short-handed.
However, they still managed two more scores courtesy of Stephen Wright and Bob Wasson, taking their tally to 28 points. And although the hosts produced a late rally, they finished on the wrong end of a 28-21 scoreline in this Junior League Section 6 fixture.
The seniors had no game, but they will be in the spotlight on Saturday afternoon at The Cloughan where they entertain Ards II in the first round of the Towns’ Cup.
The 2nd XV will also have a home Crawford Cup tie against Coleraine II, and the other matches are: 3rd XV v Belfast Harlequins III, away and 4th XV v Ballymena V, home.