Cloughan men fire past Ards

Action from Ballyclare's game with Ards at The Cloughan in the Towns' Cup. Photo: Freddie Parkinson
Action from Ballyclare's game with Ards at The Cloughan in the Towns' Cup. Photo: Freddie Parkinson

BALLYCLARE eased in to the second round of the Towns’ Cup with a resounding win against Ards II.

Despite having to make several changes, Bob Young’s lads were too hot for the visitors to handle at The Cloughan, where they ran in six unanswered tries to record a 45-0 whitewash.

Robert Smith, who was deputising for Gareth Byers at full-back, had a 100 percent return with the boot, converting all six scores in addition to a penalty.

The hosts were seven points up after only four minutes, Smith having goaled a touchdown by wing-forward Gary Weatherup who raced clear from halfway.

New hooker, Craig Wallace, took his tally to six tries in four outings when he went in from a short penalty by Colin Morrow, with Smith adding the extras to make it 14-0 at the break.

The lead could have been even greater, but Wallace lacked support in one attack, while Nigel Moore dropped the ball with the line wide open.

In the gathering gloom, floodlights were required for the second session during which the ‘Clare lads piled on the pressure.

Smith increased the lead with a penalty and then converted a score by skipper Niall Lawther, who raced the length of the pitch from his own 22 without a hand being laid on him.

At this stage Ballyclare substitutes David Clarke and Andy Wylie were introduced for Mark Weatherup and Wallace, and Clarke made an immediate impact when he scored from a ruck near the line.

Clarke then was the provider when he put Gary Weatherup in for his second of the afternoon, while Willie Logan, playing at number eight in the absence of Michael Rainey, completed the half-dozen.

Smith took his tally to 15 points by converting these last three scores.

Ballyclare : R Smith; M Weatherup, S Cusack, C Gillen, N Loughlin; N Lawther (c), C Morrow; A Boyd, C Wallace, R Henderson, G McKinstry, R Boyd, G Weatherup, N Moore, W Logan.

The 2nd XV were knocked out of the Crawford Cup by Coleraine II who won the first-round tie 14-11 at The Cloughan. A Stephen Beasant penalty kept Ballyclare in contention at 6-3 at the interval, but early in the second session Ballyclare nosed in front 8-6 when Chris Hall got his side’s only touchdown of the afternoon.

The lead changed hands again when Coleraine added a penalty and a try, before Beasant’s late penalty reduced the deficit to three points.

The 3rd XV continue to struggle in Junior League Section 2 after having been promoted last season, and they proved to be no match for Belfast Harlequins III who won emphatically 30-11 at Deramore. Johnny Reid managed an unconverted score.

The only other fixture is: 4th XV v Portadown IV, away.