Ballyclare sides lose out to Ballynahinch

Rugby update
Rugby update
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BALLYNAHINCH completed the double over Ballyclare on Saturday when they won both top matches.

Without skipper Mo Finlay, a much changed Ballyclare senior side lost 47-12 to the ‘Hinch 2nd XV, and despite having home advantage at The Cloughan, Ballyclare’s 2nd XV went down 38-9 to ‘Hinch III.

The result of the senior fixture was of little consequence since it was in the Conference League, not the Qualifying League.

With the wind in their backs Ballyclare did very well in the first half, and turned round all square at 12-12 against a strong home side that included four 1st XV forwards who were returning from injury.

At one point the visitors were 7-5 ahead when fly-half Niall Lawther made space for centre Stuart Cusack to cross for a score that was goaled by Gareth Byers, after the home side had opened with an unconverted score.

Poor tackling allowed the hosts to regain the lead with a converted try, but just before the turnaround Robert Boyd paved the way for Chris Coburn to level the scores with a try that Byers was unable to improve upon.

When wing-forward Coburn retired injured early in the second session, Ballynahinch made full use of their numerical advantage to run in five unanswered touchdowns for a comprehensive win.

Ballyclare coach Bob Young is hoping he will be able to field a full strength team on Saturday for the visit of Grosvenor to fulfil a Qualifying League Section 2 fixture. One player he will be without is skipper Mo Finlay.

Grosvenor have lost just once to date, and Saturday’s victory against Bangor should serve as a warning.

Enniskillen are in pole position with Bangor and Ballyclare joint-second just ahead of Grosvenor, so a keen tussle is in prospect.

The 2nd XV fared little better when they lost the Junior League Section 1 clash with Ballynahinch III in Ballyclare.

Three Robert Smith penalties gave the home side a 9-5 lead at the break, but with the ‘Hinch pack dominating proceedings in the second session, they ran in four more scores without reply to finish 38-9 winners.

Best for Ballyclare were Craig McCartney, wing-forward, Michael Crothers, while lock-forward Colin McGookin impressed at scrum-half, after being called up from the Under-19s.

The 4th XV lifted the gloom at The Cloughan when they returned a 50-13 win against Monaghan II in Junior League Section 6.

The try scorers were: Trevor Clarke (2), Chris Gawn (2), Darren Montgomery, Bob Wasson, Jordan Brownlee and R. Smith, while John Wasson kicked five conversions.

Youth team results against Coleraine: U13s won 31-7; U15s won 24-17; U17s lost 49-10, while the U19s lost 45-25 to Ards.

This weekend’s fixtures: 1st XV v Grosvenor, home; 2nd XV v Clogher Valley II, away; 3rd XV v Grosvenor III, away; 4th XV v CIYMS IV, home.