Clarke helps Ballyclare bag bonus-point victory

Niall Lawther scored Ballyclare's second try against Donaghadee.
Niall Lawther scored Ballyclare's second try against Donaghadee.

Ballyclare earned their first bonus point of the season when they ran in five touchdowns against Donaghadee.

Having won three of their first four outings in Qualifying 1, they travelled to Donaghadee to take on a side still without a win, and they didn’t disappoint.

In brilliant autumnal conditions the hosts were mainly on the back foot and conceded the opening score when winger James Greer raced upfield, before linking with scrum-half Colin Morrow, who put David Clarke in for a score which Gareth Byers goaled.

Continuing to dominate, the visitors increased the lead when fly-half Niall Lawther ghosted through for a score in the corner. Byers failed with the conversion, but soon added a penalty to give his side a commanding 15-0 lead at the break.

Donaghadee opened their account with a penalty and only sterling defensive work by Jordan McKinstry and Willie Logan prevented them from adding to their score.

Two yellow cards in quick succession left the White Hare lads with only 13 players, but while understrength they managed to keep their line intact, running in three more scores.

A break by centre Clarke led to Byers getting the first which he duly converted; then winger Michael Kirk secured the bonus point when he sprinted in at the corner to make it 27-3.

The hosts then reduced the deficit with a converted score, before Clarke rounded off a fine personal performance by touching down at the posts, for a score that he also goaled.

Jordan McKinstry starred in the pack, while Clarke was the pick of the backs.

Ballyclare: G Byers; J Greer, D Clarke, S Beasant, M Kirk; N Lawther, C Morrow; D Lawther, A Wylie, A Boyd, G McKinstry, R Boyd (C), J McKinstry, G Weatherup, W Logan. Replacements: J Brownlee, R Tweed.

At The Cloughan, Ballymena IV beat the 3rd XV 38-17, and the ‘Mena IV’s completed the double with a 33-7 win against the local 4th XV.

Saturday’s fixtures: 1st XV v Cooke, home, Junior Cup round 2; 2nd XV v Larne II, away; 4th XV v Lurgan II, away.