Ballyclare completed a Qualifying 1 double over Omagh and collected a valuable bonus point with a 26-8 win that took them level on points with Clogher Valley.
The hosts dictated the pace of the game from the start and forged ahead within 10 minutes. When the Omagh pack was pushed off the ball inside their own 22, a ruck was formed, resulting in hooker Ross Scott crashing over for a score which Gareth Byers converted.
The visitors kept in touch with a penalty, but then conceded a second score. Byers then rounded off a fine move involving winger JJ Baird and Stuart Cusick. Byers crossed at the posts making the conversion a formality and the lead 14-3.
Ryan Tweed then raced in for an unconverted score in the corner, but just before the turnaround Omagh cut the deficit to 19-8 when they attacked on the blindside of a scrum to score in the corner. Their conversion rebounded off the upright.
Ballyclare’s bonus point arrived early in the second session. Dave Clarke’s quickly-taken penalty caught the cover off-guard and he went in unopposed and when Byers added the extras Ballyclare were well ahead at 26-8.
It was an effective team performance that pleased Ballyclare coaches and fans alike, but with four fixtures to fulfil repeat performances will be required to clinch a top-four finish and qualification for the All-Ireland Junior Cup.
Saturday’s matches: Ards II v 1st XV; 2nd XV v Bangor II; Lisburn III v 3rd XV; Lurgan II v 4th.