BALLYCLARE RFC retained the Hall Trophy with a record aggregate score against Larne on Saturday (April 27).
A generous Larne benefactor presented this trophy several years ago for annual competition between the neighbouring East Antrim clubs, and this time with home advantage at The Cloughan, the White Hare lads emerged victorious in both matches involving the 1st and 2nd XVs.
The ‘Clare senior side triumphed 81-17, while their 2nd XV recorded a 57-0 whitewash.
Home full-back Robert Smith, who was initially selected to play cricket for Templepatrick, starred with a hat-trick of tries, and then increased his tally to an impressive 36 points by adding a penalty and converting nine of his side’s 12 tries.
Smith opened the scoring with a penalty, and in addition to Smith’s treble, other scores were added by Michael Kirk, and Mark Weatherup, and with Larne limited to an unconverted touchdown they turned round trailing 34-5.
The one-way traffic continued in the second session with Larne finishing with only twelve players due to injuries.
Home second-half scores were added by Kirk, Willie Logan, Stuart Cusack, Jordan McKinstry, James Greer (two) and Robert Boyd.
This fixture doubled as a Qualifying League Section 2 fixture in which Larne needed to score four tries in order to avoid a relegation play-off with Randalstown, but two in the second session left them one short.
Ballyclare: R Smith; J Greer, S Cusack, N Loughlin, M Weatherup; J Irvine, C Morrow; R Henderson, A Wylie, A Boyd (C), R Boyd, G McKinstry, J McKinstry, M Kirk, W Logan.
Meanwhile, scrum-half Adam Wardrop was the star of Ballyclare 2nd XV’s massive win with four touchdowns. Kirk Johnston, Gareth Byers, Stephen Beasant (two) and Simon Reid also crossed, while conversions were kicked by skipper Chris Gillen (five) and Kirk Johnston.
Elsewhere, Michael Rainey and Gary Weatherup were members of the successful Ulster Juniors side that defeated Connacht in Ballina in the junior inter-provincial series, and they hope to be retained for this weekend’s clash in Coleraine against either Munster or Leinster.
Ballyclare Under-13s reached the final of the Ulster Under-13 Cup, but were defeated 46-12 by Ballymena. The ‘Clare scorers were Adam Elliott and Ben Sempey who also goaled his own score. The boys were guests at the Hall Trophy pre-match lunch.