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Clarke is last-gasp hero for Ballyclare

Ballyclare High 15 Portora Royal 12

There was plenty of excitement at Ballyclare where the home team needed a last-gasp try to qualify for the quarter-final.

There were only a couple of minutes remaining when play was brought into the Portora '22' where a penalty was awarded. The referee stated there wasn't enough time for a lineout so Ballyclare kept the ball tight and finally, eight minutes into injury-time, they were rewarded when their captain and No 8 David Clarke crashed over for Chris Harvey to convert.

It was an exciting encounter and the result could have gone either way after Ballyclare led 8-5 at half-time. After 19 minutes good forward play resulted in a dummy by Johnny Holmes and the out-half crossed for an unconverted try.

The Enniskillen team came back and following a pick-and-go, Charlie Sargaison levelled before Chris Harvey’s penalty.

The score remained 8-5 for most of the evenly contested second-half. Ballyclare took up a position around the visiting '22' but the strong Portora defence held firm. Then Ballyclare made a couple of mistakes and play reverted to the other end where they scored a try with only six minutes remaining which gave them a 12-8 lead.

Matthew Tanswell was the scorer with James Gormley adding the conversion.

From the drop-out, Portora knocked on and this rekindled the home confidence which finally resulted in that grandstand ending.

It was a close contest but Ballyclare were victorious and now have the virtually impossible task of trying to defeat Methody at Pirrie Park.

Ballyclare High: C.Harvey, J.Douglas, M.Lok, C.Anderson, L.Bailie, J.Holmes, C.Millar, D.Clarke, J.F. Bester, P.McMechan, G.Bartely, T.McLintock, S.Forbes, M.Logan, B.Wilson, S.Forbes, C.Shearer, P.Kennedy, P.Crawford, K.Johnston, M.McComb, P.Ferguson, S.Beattie

Portora Royal: S.Burrell, S.Patterson, J.Gormley, J.McKenzie, A.Morrison, J.Ferguson, R.Gibson, C.Sargaison, J.Foster, M.Trimble, R.Blair, J.Bready, P.Dickie, R.Ogle M.Tanswell, N.McCrea, S.McIlveen, A.Farrell, N.Allen, G.Rutherford, J.Houston, J.Magwood

Referee : B.O'Hara

Belfast Telegraph

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