RUGBY REVIEW: Instonians complete treble over Ballyclare

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  • Kukri Qualifying 1: Ballyclare 5-25 Instonians

Having already beaten Ballyclare in league and cup clashes, Instonians came to The Cloughan on Saturday and completed the treble with a convincing 25-5 Qualifying 1 win.

The city side punished Ballyclare errors and only a late home score prevented a whitewash.

Coach Mike McKeever had to make changes in the backs with Robert Smith and Niall Lawther out injured, so Stephen Bailie came in at full-back, with Gary Clotworthy taking over at fly-half to partner Andy Watson.

Clotworthy came within a whisker of opening the scoring when his penalty attempt hit the upright, but his opposite number fared better soon afterwards to give his side a 3-0 lead.

Conceding penalties was a concern for the home support, and when an extra 10 metres was gained from one following dissent, the city kicker accepted the gift to double the lead.

When the Belfast number eight was yellow-carded, the White Hare men were unable to capitalise on their numerical superiority.

After the interval Ballyclare struggled to get in to their opponents’ half, and Inst duly scored their first try when a lineout on the 22 led to a ruck, from which the ball was recycled for an unconverted score in the corner.

When a home kick failed to gain touch, the ball was gathered by the fly-half, who kicked ahead, followed up and won the race to gather and cross in the corner for a score that was goaled to stretch the lead to 18-0.

Ballyclare’s woes deepened when a sloppy pass was intercepted by the alert number 10, who raced clear to score at the posts, making the conversion a formality – 25-0.

Some home pride was restored in the closing moments when ‘Clare’s Man of the Match, Michael Rainey, linked with Dave Clarke, who forced his way over for a consolation unconverted score.

The defeat dropped Ballyclare out of the coveted top four that guarantees admission to the All Ireland Junior Cup at the end of the season.

Having beaten Dromore at The Cloughan, coach Mike McKeever will be hoping to complete the double in County Down this weekend.

Ballyclare: S Bailie; JJ Baird, D Clarke, S Cusick, A Butler; G Clotworthy, A Watson; D Lawther, D Chambers, A Boyd, R Boyd, W Logan, G Weatherup (C), P Robinson, M Rainey. Replacements: R Scott, R Tweed.