Ards lose to Clogher
By STEPHEN NUTT
In a closely fought match, yellow cards cost Ards dear
Ards 19 v Clogher 22
Ards 1sts welcomed Clogher Valley to Hamilton Park last Saturday in their first home Kukri Ulster Rugby Championship Two league match of the season. Clogher were relegated from Championship One last season and unlike Ards they have won their opening two league matches of this season.
Forward Onisi Burekama and back David Armstrong returned to the starting lineup and forwards Ryan Thompson and Davy Calvert to the bench.
Ards started brightly playing away from Scrabo with the wind on their back. After 11 mins and following great pressure by Ards on a Clogher scrum, flanker Paddy Bond seized on a loose ball and finished well out wide to open the scoring, full back Paul Cox's conversion attempt just went wide. Ards 5 v Clogher 0
In the 15th minute Clogher levelled the score. Ards 5 v Clogher 5
Ards went ahead again in the 26th minute when scrumhalf Alex Hendrickse streaked down the blind side following good work by hooker Tom Arthur Donnan, Cox's conversion was good. Ards 12 v Clogher 5
Ards kept up the pressure and second row Ross Torney led the charge, Torney was held up on the Clogher line and whilst Ards supporters thought Clogher should've been penalised for not releasing the tackled player, it was Torney who was penalised and then yellow carded for striking an opponent in the 28th minute.
Clogher attempted to take advantage of reduced Ards numbers, but the Ards defence was resolute and in the 33rd minute centre Trevor Devlin broke through to score a to the side of the Clogher posts, Cox converted. Ards 19 v Clogher 5
Ards were then reduced to thirteen players in the 36th minute when flanker Davy Calvert was sin binned for hands in the ruck in the process of a Clogher scoring a try. Ards 19 v Clogher 10
Halftime: Ards 19 v Clogher 10
Starting the second half with fourteen men Ards looked to extent their lead and controlled play in the Clogher half, however it was Clogher who opened the scoring in the 47th minute when they kicked behind the Ards defence and with Ards failing to control the bouncing ball, Clogher seized on it and went over for a converted try. Ards 19 v Clogher 17
This Clogher score was closely followed by another Ards sin binning when flanker Onisi Burekama was harshly yellow carded for what seemed to be a legitimate tackle by the hard hitting Fijian in the 50th minute.
Ards were no sooner restored to their full quota of players when winger Adam Coulter was penalised for a high tackle and then shown yellow in the 65th minute, when it appeared to all that the Clogher player had slipped into the tackle.
The resulting penalty saw Clogher kick into the corner and force their way over to take the lead for the first time in the match, the conversion was missed. Ards 19 v Clogher 22
Ards chased the game and tried to breakdown the resolute Clogher defence and were awarded a penalty in the last play of the game. Ards opted to kick to level the match but Cox's attempt went just wide.
Final score Ards 19 v Clogher 22
This match was one that got away from Ards, despite continuing improvement it is impossible to win matches with so many yellow cards awarded against a team.
Ards travel to newly promoted Lurgan this week, expecting another physical encounter and hoping to achieve their first league win of the season.