Antrim RFC I XV: Club In Peices 2 Years Ago! Now 3rd In the League!!!!!!!!!!!!!: I XV 36 v Ards RFC IV XV 0

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Antrim hosted Ards on the last game of the season and on a prefect day for rugby Antrim came out on top and clinch 3rd in the league

With several changes to the Antrim line up it was a change for the replacements to make a mark for next season and from the of Antrim retained the ball from their kick off and quickly had Ards on the back foot. It wasn’t long until Antrim capsized on their possession with the forwards attacking the corner flag with shipped the ball wide missing the centres and hitting the wing for Craig McIvor to step inside his man a touch down in the corner unconverted Antrim lead 5-0

With the momentum on Antrim’s side it wasn’t long until Antrim had their hands on the ball and attacking the Ards side, with a long kick down field form Richard Manson Antrim were in prime position to attack the line. With the forwards doing the hard work Dave McKee went on a solo run crashing through several tackles before offloading to John Bull to race through and touch down under the posts converted Antrim lead 12-0.

The restart was sent deep into Antrim’s half and a great catch a carry from Darren Crooks saw Antrim back in control once more before Ards turned the ball over and had a spell just outside Antrim’s 22 and were awarded a penalty but the kick went wide and give Antrim the chance to get out of trouble, the restart saw Antrim retain the ball with a great leap from Mark Perry and a surged up the pitch before the ball was passed from right to lift before Craig McIvor broke free to run down the line and slide over in the corner unconverted Antrim’s lead widened to 17-0.

With Antrim gathering the ball from the restart the forwards took their time a slowly work their way up the pitch working the ball from right to lift wearing the defence down before the backs sliced the Ards backline in two and just inside Ards 22 Ricky Robb picked up to brush aside two tackles before crashing over to score in the corner unconverted, Antrim finished the first half 22-0.

The second half saw Ards stepping up a gear and were soon in Antrim’s 22 and looked set to get some points on the board but the Antrim defence stood strong closing down the set moves Ards had planed but Antrim just couldn’t get out of their 22. However after about 10 minutes of attacks Antrim cleared their lines up to the halfway line.

Antrim had to up their game and made couple of changes bring on Andy Chestnutt, Gavin Wilson for Conner Martin and Steve Curns, the changes seemed to spark new life into the side and within minutes of his arrival Andy Chestnutt picked up a loss ball on the halfway line blowing of three tackles he raced for the line with the Ards defence hot on his heels he touch down and with the conversion from Rick Manson Antrim lead 29-0.

Once again Antrim took the restart well and worked their way up field with Ricky Robb, Robert Nimmo and Paul McAleer breaking the gain line Antrim were in prime position to attack once more a great pick from Dave McKee he forced his way into the Ards half before spreading it wide and the Antrim winger took full advantage leaving is opposite number for dead and raced clear to score under the posts converted Antrim brought the final score to 36-0

From the restart Antrim surge up the field several occasions but couldn’t convert with get runs form Gary Smith who came on for Ben, Neil Manson and John Bull who came close to scoring. In the entire match was played with pride and a well deserved 3rd stop in the league and a great positive for next year’s season.

It was a very positive performance from every player. Final score Antrim 36 Ards 4s 0. Although every player gave it his all, Man of the Match was awarded to Paul McAleer.

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