Convincing start to new season for Valley

Ryan Wilson making a break for Clogher Valley


Ballymoney ………………………0

Clogher Valley ………………..38



Clogher Valley started their defence of Junior Qualifying One with a convincing six-try win at Ballymoney.

Valley manager David Black was satisfied with a good job well done in a sun-kiessed north Antrim.

“I felt we were comfortable across the game,” said Black. “It was one of those games where it was just a matter of releasing the backs and letting them can do damage. Overall I was very happy with how we played.”

Valley made an encouraging start with no quarter given at the breakdown.

After a series of penalties, which Valley kicked for position, a lineout on the Ballymoney 22 led to Valley’s first try. Following a good take at the lineout from Robinson, who had a good return to league action, the Valley pack drove relentlessly at the Ballymoney line. Number eight Ryan Wilson was on hand to make the last vital yards for the touchdown on 8 minutes. Holme converted to leave Valley leading 7-0.

Rather than kick on from here, the Vall ey team found itself defending for the next 15 minutes in what was to be the home side’s best period of the match. A series of drives and running backline movements, with the home side’s excellent number in the van, was constantly repulsed by resolute Valley defending – with Valley flankers BJ Wilson and McKenna prominent.


The Ballymoney tide was halted after a turnover executed by Dunlop in the centre. This eventually led to a Valley scrum just outside the home side’s 22. A well-worked move from the scrum saw Holme making space for Armstrong to split the defence with captain Best in support to score after 27 minutes. Holme missed the conversion to leave Valley leading 12-0.

Valley continued to counter the home side’s attacks with BJ Wilson doing Trojan work at the breakdown. After a further breakout from the Valley 22, the visitors again laid siege to the Ballymoney 22. A good heel at the scrum saw Ryan Wilson bundle over for an inevitable try on 37 minutes, which went unconverted. The whistle blew shortly afterwards for half-time with Valley leading 17-0.

The second half began with the home side running at the Valley, cheered on by the vociferous home support. Valley’s defence again held firm and once again this was turned into counter-attack.

Following a flowing period of play with backs and forwards moving the ball across the pitch, flanker McKenna made the decisive break to score Valley’s fourth try on 55 minutes. Holmes added the extras to leave Valley leading 24-0.

The remainder of the match saw Valley seeking to convert its ascendancy into further points.

After a great break by Falconer on half-way the ball found the debutant Stott on the home side’s 22. With some work to do Stott turned on the gas and wrong footed the defence to score under the posts on 65 minutes. Holme converted to leave Valley leading 31-0. Injuries to Holme, Robinson and Falconer led to some reorganisation of the Valley side in the closing stages.

This did not prevent Valley from scoring a final try after good approach work enabled Ryan Wilson to squeeze over for his hat-trick with the final whistle in sight. Armstrong added the conversion and this left the score at 38-0 – which proved to be final score.

Overall a convincing win for Valley based on good defence, superior fitness and some excellent execution. The win came at a cost however with a couple of injury headaches for coach David Black to contemplate.

“We’ve two injury concerns, second row Mattie Robinson and centre PC Falconer. We just going to have to assess them over the week.”

Looking ahead to the visit of Donaghadee to the Cran this Saturday (2.30pm) Black was under no illusions that his men faced a sterner test than Ballymoney were able to provide last weekend.

“We played them to win the league last year and the cup final,” said Black. “Fortunately enough we won both games, but we know that Donaghdee will be a hard hard game. They’ve always got a good scrum and a good pack and they are very good across the backline. They will be a totally different kettle of fish, but we have them at home though which is a bit of an edge in our favour.”

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