BALLYCLARE Rugby Club have won the Moore Cup on umpteen occasions, but they returned from Randalstown empty-handed on Saturday.
This annual tournament organised by the Randalstown club is popular with players, and this year’s event attracted eight teams, organised in two pools.
For the first time for many years Ballyclare failed to negotiate the early stages, after beating Ophir and drawing with Carrick, but falling to Academy.
The 21-5 win against Ophir in the opening fixture was marred by a leg injury sustained by fly-half, Niall Lawther, that ruled him out of the rest of the afternoon.
Gareth Byers, Robert Smith and Andy Wylie were the try-scorers, with Smith converting all three.
For the Carrick game Byers filled in for Lawther in the number 10 jersey, but neither side managed to break the deadlock in the scoreless draw.
Against Academy, Mo Finlay’s lads turned round leading 5-3, Kyle Norton having scored the touchdown with Smith’s conversion attempt rebounding off the upright.
Byers made a couple of breaks in the second session, but lacked support, allowing the Hydepark men to clinch a 6-5 victory with their second penalty.
So, Academy and Carrick advanced to the knockout semi-finals while the White Hare lads packed their bags.
Coach Bob Young will be hoping that Lawther’s injury is not serious, with the new season getting under way this weekend with a trip to Lisburn for the opening Qualifying League Section 2 fixture of the season.
However, on the positive side Willie Logan and Graham McKinstry, two key players who were not at Randalstown, should be on board in Lisburn.
Ballyclare panel: Smith, Norton, Reid, Clarke, Loughlin, Jackson, N Lawther, Byers, Morrow, D Lawther, Wylie, A Boyd, Finlay (c), White, Jones, R Boyd, Stevenson, McKinstry, Kirk.