RUGBY REVIEW: Clotworthy and Baird doubles secure big win for Ballyclare

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Ballyclare thrashed CIYMS and scored a bonus point win that keeps alive their chances of securing a top four Section 1 finish and qualifying for the All Ireland Junior Cup.

Gary Weatherup’s men ran in six tries while restricting the bottom-of-the-table side to a solitary penalty in the 38-3 win, with Gary Clotworthy and JJ Baird each scoring a brace, along with touchdowns by Willie Logan and David Clarke.

CI were first on the scoreboard with a penalty but it was the only time the scoreboard advanced in their favour.

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Ballyclare’s first try followed an effective driving maul going right to the line where Willie Logan touched down for an unconverted score.

It boosted Ballyclare’s confidence and just before half time a great break out of defence by Clotworthy saw him find support runner Baird, who ran in under the posts, for a score that Gareth Byers to make it 12-3.

Ballyclare started the second half brightly and were rewarded with a score through Clotworthy.

Baird got his second score of the game soon after when he cut in from the wing at pace and glided through the defence to score under the posts. Byers’ conversion made it 24-3 with the important bonus point secured.

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Clotworthy scored his second try by chasing a kick down field, gathering and powering over to increase the lead, while the sixth and final score owed more to the soccer skills of Ross Scott and Clarke rather than their rugby talents.

A loose ball was hacked down field by Scott and he set off in pursuit. With a CI defender about to drop on it Scott hooked the ball clear and with the try line now in sight, centre Clarke, kicked through again, nudging the ball over the line before dropping on it. Byers completed the rout by slotting over the conversion.

Ballyclare (1-15): D Lawther, D Chambers, R Scott, R Boyd, M Stevenson, P Robinson, G Weatherup (C), W Logan, T McGookin, G Clotworthy, R Tweed, D Clarke, S Cusick, JJ Baird, G Byers. Replacements: M Robson, W Rea.

Monaghan were unable to send a team to play Ballyclare III, while the Fours suffered a rare loss against a strong Instonians III team.

This Saturday sees Ballyclare travel to Fivemiletown to play Clogher Valley who won by only two points at The Cloughan earlier in the season. The 2nd XV are set to host Larne II.

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