Ballyclare’s first Qualifying 1 game at The Cloughan for several years saw them produce a narrow 25-23 win over Dromore on Saturday.
The home side were up and running with a fourth-minute penalty from outhalf Bobby Smith. Dromore hit back and scorched upfield with wing Houston landing a deserved try which went unconverted.
Ballyclare’s response again came from the boot of Smith with another penalty but back came the visitors and McClearnan got over for another unconverted try.
A good line break from David Clarke ended with prop David Lawther surging over to land a try in the corner, giving Ballyclare a narrow 11-10 lead.
But the advantage changed when Steenson kicked a penalty but Smith kicked another penalty of his after an offside to edge his side 14-13 ahead.
The home side’s failure to clear the ball enabled McDonald to nip in for a try converted by Steenson, putting Dromore 20-14 up at the break.
Concerted home pressure after the break gave Smith a chance with a tricky penalty which he slotted over, only for Cobb to reply for the visitors to put them 23-17 to the good.
An offside allowed Smith to slot over his fifth penalty to reduce the deficit to three points 23-20. Ballyclare finished strongly and were awarded a late penalty. They opted to take a scrum and Colin Morrow set up Willie Logan who went in to score. This time Smith was just wide with the kick, but Ballyclare had banked a second victory on the spin.
Ballyclare: S. Beasant; M. Kirk, D. Clarke, D. Crawford, J. Greer; R. Smith, C. Morrow; A. Boyd, A. Wylie, D. Lawther; R. Boyd (c), G. McKinstry; G. Weatherup, D. Chambers, J. McKinstry. Replacements: W. Logan, M. Finlay.
Ballyclare’s 2nd XV were disappointed to go down 44-27 at C.I.Y.M.S II in their opening game in Junior 1.
This Saturday the Thirds are away to Carrick III, while the Fourths are at home to Portadown IV.