Another wonderful occasion at Hamilton Park as Ards rugby club welcomed a select touring team from the famous London Irish club last Saturday. This is a great example of how our successful local rugby club can be a driver for economic growth in the boroug
In the true spirit of social rugby, Ards legends from recent decades turned out in force. Led by the incomparable Neil Workman and current club President John Barclay, it was great to see appearances from scrum half siblings Les and Warren Simpson. Former Ulster players RAB IRWIN and Shane Stewart provided a sprinkling of quality alongside club stalwarts John Dowey and Graeme Copeland.
The game was refereed by another iconic club member, Teddy “gumshield” Sloan who guided the players safely through the game while providing suitable entertainment for the large crowd. In attendance on Saturday were the usual regulars but it was great to see Ian Frazer, Gareth Wright, Dee Heron, Peter Wallace, Jim Webster, Ali Carson and many others.
There was a good turn out from Barry Brewster’s famous Under 20s side of the early 90s. Stevie Nutt, JD Gamble and Nigel Lynch all played while their former teammates Bill English, Ivan Shields and Stuart Stevenson watched the game unfold.
London Irish held on for a narrow victory with both teams scoring three tries, Ards scorers were Gordy McBride with a brace for Willie McAllister. Highlights of the game included one storming run from Gary Presho, a man of the match performance from the returning Ricky Mullan, Willie Maynard’s header and neil workman knocking on when he had the chance to score the try of the century.
Many thanks to all at London Irish, we hope they enjoyed the local hospitality and hopefully they will return to these parts at some stage in the future.
PORTADOWN 10 – 11 Ards 3rds – League
ARDS TAKE THE NARROWEST OF VICTORIES AT PORTADOWN by David Chivers
Saturday 30th Nov 2013. Ards 3rds made the trip to Portadown determined to get their season back on track with a win. Ards fielded the kickoff and worked their way into the opposition half and were rewarded with a kickable penalty that slid just wide. They soon regretted this when Portadown broke into the Ards 22 and scored in the corner from a quick tap penalty, taking advantage of a disorganized Ards defence. The men in black put this behind them and once again worked into opposition territory and this time came away with a well taken penalty by Robinson. The intensity being shown by both sides was immense with great work being done in the loose by Coulter and Stewart and Taylor and McKee running very strong lines in the centre of the park. Despite this the Portadown defence held strong and they broke out into the Ards half and were awarded a penalty that was kicked into the corner. From the ensuing lineout Ards failed to deal with the rolling maul and a Portadown forward sneaked the ball onto the line for an unconverted try. Once again Ards resolve came to the fore and from a turnover in the Portadown 22 Burr whipped the ball to the right and it was worked through a number of phases before coming back to the right where the ever dependable Adams wriggled over the line with the help of Dickson’s considerable bulk. Half time saw the score line Portadown 10 – Ards 8.
Both teams started the second half knowing that the next score would be crucial and following a warning from the referee regarding the high number of infringements at the breakdown the Portadown hooker was sin binned for coming round the side of a ruck. Robinson calmly slotted the penalty to give Ards the smallest of leads. The effort was intensified from the home side and the Ards defence was rocked but remained unbroken thanks to some great tackling and organization. The lines were eventually cleared and Ards mounted a further attack resulting in a narrowly missed penalty. Once again Portadown threw all they had at Ards who put bodies on the line and did some excellent disruption of possession, unfortunately McCutcheon was adjudged to have gone too far and was sinned binned. The commitment from the Ards defence ensured that Portadown got no closer to increasing their score than a long range penalty that went well wide. Good running from Coulter and Kerr on the wings and Croan relieved pressure on a number of occasions. It was pressure that eventually caused the Portadown captain to see red mist descend before seeing a yellow card for descent from the referee. Ards retained possession and recycled ball effectively, trying to run down the clock. The home side lost patience and were penalised for hands in the ruck just after 80 minutes had elapsed. From the resulting penalty Robinson found a safe touch much to the relief of the battered and bruised Ards defence. From start to finish this was a close contest with little to choose between the two teams but the Ards men should be proud of the resolve they showed to secure the win.
Ards Squad: R.Dickson, D.Chivers, C.Stewart, I.Presho, W.McCutcheon, B.Laird, J.Coulter, P.Croan, C.Burr, S.Robinson, A.Coulter, M.Taylor, S.McKee, D.Kerr, J.Adams.