ARDS RFC Notes: III XV 20 v Holywood RFC II XV 17 + II XV 21 v Banbridge RFC II XV 28 & Legends Innaugural v Donaghadee & Black Knight’s give CIYMS ‘Dream Team’ …….Knightmares!!!

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Ards 3rds defeat local rivals

Ards made the short journey to Holywood last Saturday. The match was played in cold but fine conditions with Ards playing towards Bangor. From the kickoff the Ards men took the game to the home side forcing them back into their own half and being rewarded with a penalty in a kickable position that rebounded off the left hand upright to deny the visitors an early lead.

Further pressure in the Holywood half eventually lead to another penalty that Aston duly converted. Ards defensive line and good work at the breakdowns resulted in repeated turnovers and penalties that lead to a Holywood played being sin binned.

Ards took this opportunity to turn the screws and created a number of scoring opportunities including a great low drive from Ross Magill, who had a good performance in his first senior game, but was held up just short of the line. It was Patterson who eventually barged over for the score with Aston adding the conversion.

Further pressure coming from clean possession allowed the ball to be spread wide to ANDY HILL who scored in the corner to leave the visitors 15 points up at half time.

Early in the 2nd half the Holywood hooker had to leave the pitch with a neck injury forcing the scrums to be uncontested from then on. Up until this point Ards had been dominating this physical encounter and without it the fire seemed to go out of the visiting team who lost their control of the breakdown.

An infringement by Patterson was judged to be cynical by the referee who gave him a yellow card. Holywood took this opportunity and upped their game to score two converted tries while Ards were down to 14 men. A further penalty from the home side left the visitors staring at surprising defeat.

Ashley Peden, in his first game as captain, rallied the men in black who showed great resolve and determination to pin Holywood back into their own 22. Storming runs by Chivers and Dean almost broke the defence down but eventually it was McHenry who went on a mazy run to score in the corner and edge Ards back into the lead with 5 minutes to go.

The never say die spirit of this team lasted right to the final whistle and a sense of relief was apparent when the game ended with Ards as the victors.
Ards Team: A.Peden, D.Chivers, R.Hamilton, R.Patterson, P.White, S.McVeagh, R.Magill, C.Dean, M.McHenry, R.Aston, M.Aitken, S.Robinson, E.Adair, A.Hill, C.Webster.

Ards 2nds lose chance to go top of their league!!

ARDS 2nds 21 – BANBRIDGE 2nds 28

Ards came up short in their quest to go top of the 2nds league. Missing Captain ADAM McKEE and second row partner Pete Croan who were at the Gilroy show in the Aviva. The only show at Hamilton Park was a lack rust home team and a poor referee who restricted both teams to stoppage rugby.
Ards showed eight changes from last week’s win over Quins due to various reasons started poorly and were disorganized in defence. Banbridge kept it tight in the forwards and used their dominance in the lineout to good affect scoring two converted trys from catch and drives over the Ards line. A strange decision against the Ards fly half standing in a offside position from a formed lineout put Banbridge in position for another push over try from a 5mt lineout. 0-19 after 20 mins.
Ards gradually worked their way back into the game and the pack was showing some signs of the dominance which had been apparent in recent games. Eventually, a visitor’s scrum was shunted back, the ball won and, from a series of pick-and-goes, Nathan Burns made a penetrating line break for outside centre Chris McClure to collect and touch down under the posts Trevor Devlin added the conversion.

10 minutes later and the lead were reduced to 5 points, with Ards mid-field possession preceding a break by NEIL ARMSTRONG, who passed on to Colin McClure and then to Garth McBurney who powered over close to posts. Conversion from Devlin and Ards were back in the match 14-19.

The resultant Ards attack foundered on a knock-on and Banbridge were able to transfer play to the home 22, but continuity was being disrupted by handling errors by both sides and increasing penalties counts and half-time arrived with neither side coming close.

Another break by Nathan Burns set up a promising position. Conran Stewart and Adam Coulter drove through the middle, forcing the visitors to kill the ball; however Devlin pulled his effort at goal well wide of the posts. It was Banbridge who opening the scoring in the half with a penalty in front of the posts for lazy running. Shortly after Banbridge where reduced to 14 players with the lost of a second row to injury.
Ards refused to be bowed, however, and went on the offensive again, with the resultant pressure forcing a kickable penalty which was again missed.

Banbridge fell foul of the referee and had a player yellow carded quickly followed by a second yellow. Chris McClure showed good awareness to kick and gather a lose pass along the visitors back line; the ball was off loaded to Trevor Devlin to score under the posts Burns added the conversion. 21-25 to Banbridge.

Ards lost winger Stephen McKee and Garth McBurney to the bin as the game became a farces with yellow cards. Just as Banbridge were back at full strength they lost an other player to a yellow card. In between the confusion Banbridge slotted over a dubious penalty.

With 10 minutes to go the Banbridge number 8 was given a straight red card for a stamp at a ruck. Ards were unable to retain any significant possession and missed another penalty to reduce the lead. The last 5 minutes Ards ran the ball out from the 22 making good in roads into the visitors half but play was forced into touch to end a frustrating game of rugby.

The stats of 5 yellow cards and 1 red would indicate a mass bawl and an indiscipline game but that was not the case.

Team: NEIL ARMSTRONG, Adam Coulter, Chris McClure, Trevor Devlin, Stephen McKee, Nathan Burns, CHARLIE STEWART, Andy Hassard, ADRIAN DODDS, RYAN YATES, JONNY DAWSON, Gareth McBurney,Colin McClure,Conran Stewart, MATT BUSBY.

Match report – Ards Legends v Donaghadee Legends

“Legends match a Great Success”
The inaugural legends league (over 35’s) fixture between Ards and Donaghadee was played out in wintry conditions at Hamilton Park on Sunday. The match ended in a very favourable 14 -14 draw and was played with a commitment from both sides that belied its “friendly status”. Over 40 veteran players put on a great show for the large crowd of voyeurs keen to see who would sustain the first injury. As it happened the first injury was the referee, Teddy Sloan, who cried off the night before with a bad knee. Big thanks then to Ricky Moore who stepped in to referee at short notice. On a side note Ricky would like to personally thank his refereeing coach, Rab Irwin, for his invaluable help throughout the game.
Straight from the kick off it was apparent that both sides were taking the match seriously as the early exchanges were thunderous. It soon became apparent that the game was going to be a contest between the power of the Ards pack (containing former Ulster player Rab Irwin and Ards 1st XV veterans John McKeag, Gary Dempsey and Gary Presho) and the pace of the Donaghadee backs (containing former junior Ulster players Stevie Seymour and Andy Monson)
The Ards pack dominated the tight, taking the majority of scrum and line-out ball however every time the ball was turned over the Donaghadee backs threatened to score. From one such turnover the ball was hacked through for their young flanker to gather and score under the posts. The try was converted leaving the score 7 nil to Donaghadee.
Ards came straight back at them and from a line-out on the Dee 22 the ball was gathered by Gary Presho. The pack mauled their way to the try line for John McKeag to crash over and score a well deserved try, duly converted by Gareth Fry (playing his first game in an Ards shirt for a long time) to make the score 7-7.
Donaghadee squandered a number of chances to take the lead again, before they took advantage of some slack Ards defence in the 3rd quarter to spread the ball wide and score in the corner. The try was duly converted 7-14 to Donaghadee.
Ards then scored the try of the match. From a line-out scrum half McCartney fired the ball to out half Fry who linked with centre Graham Copeland, who burst through the Donaghadee defence to put full back Gordy McBride in under the posts to score a superb try. Fry converted bringing the scores level again, 14-14.
The game petered out as a contest in the 4th quarter with age beginning to tell on both sides. Both sides still had an opportunity to win the game. Firstly Ards sportingly refused to take a kickable penalty under the posts and then, in the last minute a Donaghadee player made a break from the halfway line, only to be thwarted on the line by some great cover tackling from Gareth Fry and Neil Workman. To the relief of all the final whistle blew, with the 14 all score-line a fair result.
Ards now look forward to the return fixture at Donaghadee in the New Year, as this inaugural fixture proved to be a great success. In particular, it was tremendous to see so many over 50’s taking to the field once more. Dee had the match’s oldest player in “Digger” Paul at 59, ably backed by fellow half centurions Buck Rogers, Vic Vinethorpe and Brian Piper. Ards oldest player was Mike Heath at 55 alongside other Ards 50 something’s John Uprichard, Joe Kelly and John Barclay (who fulfilled a personal ambition of playing for an Ards team in 5 different decades, his first match being as a schoolboy in 1979).
After the match the players and spectators retired to the clubhouse for some well deserved liquid sustenance, where there was live music and a great feed for all participants. It was particularly pleasing to record that the ballot in aid of the Princes Trust raised £220 for the charity. Thanks to all.


Match report Ards 4ths v CIYMS – Sat 17th Nov

Black Knight’s give CIYMS ‘Dream Team’ …….Knightmares!!!

Following on from the comprehensive defeat of Ballynahnch Evergreens in their last match , the Black Knights continued their winning ways with a hard fought 22-5 defeat of a strong and confident CIYMS self proclaimed “ Dream Team” at a blustery Hamilton Park on saturday.
From the kick off it was apparent that the strength of the CI team lay in their backline (all of whom had played in their 1st xv last season). They attacked the ards line from all positions on the pitch and only stout ards tackling (which was a feature throughout the game) prevented a number of certain scores. Slowly but surely the black knights got back into the game and it was obvious that the match was turning into a contest between the power of the ards pack and the pace of the CI backs.
CI struck first blow however, with a sweeping back move sending their pacey winger (who had played representative rugby for the West of Scotland) in at the corner for an unconverted try. Ards refused to drop their heads and with the pack dominating the set piece , they drove for the CIYMS line. From a line out in the CIYMS 22 ,Gary presho gathered the ball and the forwards drove for the line being held up only at the try line. The ball was swiftly released to Keith McIlwaine who crashed over beneath the posts. Nial Mulholland converted to leave the score 7-5 to ards.
Ards continued their forward dominance from the kick off. CI had no answer to the black knights rolling maul and quickly conceded 2 penalties, both converted by Mulholland to leave the halftime score 13-5.
The second half started like the first with the CIYMS backs attacking at every opportunity. However the ards defence held firm with particularly some great tackling from Andy Todd and Stevie Bell. As the second half wore on the Ards pack restored their dominance. From a lineout the ball was swept wide and young winger MATT McMULLAN was put in clear . Despite some desperate last ditch defence from the CIYMS winger he offloaded the ball inside for hooker andy Fletcher to gather the ball and score in the corner. The try went unconverted leaving the score 18 -5.
Despite the best efforts of captain RAB IRWIN (who was yellow carded for a punch on a CIYMS player who had the audacity to tackle him) Ards dominated the final quarter and with backrow of jamie stinson and Keith McIlwaine causing as much disruption in the CIYMS backline as a couple of brunettes at US Army Generals party, the ball spilled loose on the halfway line. Fullback Cyril Stocker hacked through and set off for the try line pursued by a CIYMS 20 stone prop. Age (as well as the prop ) was obviously catching up on Stocker as his rotund pursuer was in danger of overhauling him. Thankfully the dynamic Keith McIlwaine was on hand to overtake the both of them and he gathered the ball and crashed over under the posts. The score went unconverted to leave the final score 23-5.
All in all a good performance from the black knights against an experienced CIYMS team with an exceptional backline at this level. Ards now look forward to the visit of league leaders Carrick in their next match on the 1st December. In the meantime manager Neil Workman has booked Captain Irwin for an anger management course!!

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