Clogher Valley 53
Clogher Valley has been crowned Kukri Ulster Rugby Championship Division 1 champions after a 53-3 win over Carrick.
Valley top the league with one game left to play, on a better win/lose record over second place Ballyclare.
From the outset, it was obvious who was the better side, with the Valley faster to the breakdown and spinning the ball out wide to where the space was found. There was only four minutes on the clock, when the visitors struck. Callum Smyton broke on the blind side, passed to Taine Haire who then popped the ball to his skipper, Paul Armstrong, to canter in the remaining 10 metres to open the scoring out wide.
The travelling Valley supporters had only another four minutes to wait for the next try. Taine Haire broke through the Carrick defence, passed to big brother Ewan, who popped on to Phillip Wilson and he sprinted the to score close to the posts. Armstrong converted and the Valley led 12-0.
Wilson scored his second soon after before Valley ensured the bonus point on 20 minutes.
A Carrick clearance kick, missed touch and Ewan Haire collected and weaved his way through the Carrick defence to score the Valley’s fourth try.
The Clogher men got a fifth when Ewan Haire collected the ball, side-stepped his way through the defence to set Callum Smyton on his way to score the next try. Armstrong converted to leave the score 29-0 after 22 minutes.
When Matthew Bothwell took charge of the ball and spun it out to Paul Armstrong he fired the ball 20 plus meters out to Taine Haire to score a sixth try in the corner.
Before the half time whistle sounded, Michael Treanor drove through the defence, popped to Aaron Dunwoody who drove over to score to stretch Valley’s lead to 41-0.
Michael Treanor set up the next try after a clearance kick from Carrick was charged down by the prop, who hacked the ball through for Phillip Wilson to get his hat-trick of tries.
A mistake from the Valley gave the home side a penalty in front of the posts which was goaled to open Carrick’s account.
Phillip Wilson added his fourth try and Valley’s ninth and shortly after Armstrong’s conversion the referee brought proceedings to a close earlier than expected.
Full back Ewan Haire was awarded ‘Player of the Match’.
Valley will conclude the season with a ‘double header’ against Grosvenor at the weekend, playing for both the league and the Junior Cup.
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