At Blaris last Saturday, the Phil Clarke led Lisburn Third XV scored an excellent 43-25 win over rivals Ballyclare Threes in the first round of the Forster Cup.
After many near misses in recent games, the Threes eventually got their act together and scored the resounding win their efforts deserved.
Ian McCaugherty, who produced a masterful display of controlled rugby at outhalf, got the scoreboard moving with a penalty after two minutes before his counterpart on the Ballyclare team equalised with a similar effort just three minutes later.
Brown then restored the lead with an excellent 35 metre drop-goal but the first try of the game arrived on ten minutes after the ball had been flashed out the back-line where it almost went dead.
However, young Scott Colligan was on hand to scoop it up and dive over for a well taken score to make it 11-3 to Lisburn.
Ballyclare then showed that they also could play rugby and they moved the ball out wide to their speedy right wing who scorched in for a try.
While the conversion failed, it showed that Ballyclare were in no mind to roll over and on the 20 minute mark, they went into an 11-15 lead after they got a clean intercept of a Lisburn attacking move to score under the posts.
The Lisburn pack were now starting to show their paces and immediately responded by pounding the visitors’ line and after a fine five metre maul, Club Vice President William Gould, playing at prop, rumbled over for a great try.
McCaugherty converted to put Lisburn into an 18-15 lead. Just on the half-time whistle, a fine break by centre Ben Mewha from the half way line saw him take the ball up to the Ballyclare line and though grounded, flanker Big T was on hand to pick up the loose ball and drive over to make it 23-15 at the interval.
The second period commenced with prop Phil Jefferson still in the sin bin for a technical indiscretion but within minutes McCaugherty had increased the gap with another penalty.
Ballyclare came back with a try of their own to make it 26-20 and with just eight points between the teams it was still all to play for in this pulsating cup tie. McCaugherty increased the scoreline again with another well struck penalty on 20 minutes.
Five minutes later came the biggest cheer of the match when, following several close in charges at the Ballyclare line, big prop William Gould again got possession and in a defining moment of the game, drove over for his second try. What a display it was from the young fellow. The conversion made it 36-20.
With just ten minutes remaining, Ballyclare were unlucky to lose one of their players to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle but this did not deter them. They kept attacking to the end and just before the final whistle were rewarded when a blocked clearance kick from Lisburn gave them a simple try.
In injury time, Ben Mehaw got possession from the restart to charge through the visitors’ defence and score. The McCaugherty conversion put the cap on a fine individual display from the outhalf and Lisburn ran out winners by 43-25.
This was a great performance from the Threes and while a number of players stood out, including Clarke, Henning, McCaugherty and Hamilton, it was centre Ben Mewha who got the vote for the Plough Inn man of the match award with his strong running and sound defence.