Bonus point win for Ards 2nds!
Ards 2nds got their 2017/18 League Campaign of to a winning start, defeating Ballymena 3rds at Hamilton Park.
Following their pre-season friendly victory over BHSFP 1st XV, Ards 2nds opened their league campaign with a great win over Ballymena 3rds.
Ards debuts were given to flanker Paul Hunter and replacement scrum half Ross Hughes, Adam Faloon made a try scoring return to Ards colours and backs Adam Warnock, Taylor Nutt, Matt Warnock and Mike Taylor all made their first appearances of the season.
Ards started well and with great tempo playing towards Scrabo, an early opportunity was missed when centres Nutt and Matt Warnock made a clean line break only for the ball to be knocked on.
This disappointment was short lived, in the 5th minute from a midfield scrum Ards No8 Davy Thompson picked up and took the ball forward, this ball was quickly recycled, releasing the backs who moved the ball wide to left winger Faloon, good hands by supporting right winger Gareth Wilson and Matt Warnock saw Faloon regain the ball and scamper over the line for a great team try, the conversion by Nutt fell short. Ards 5 v Ballymena 0
Ards kept the pressure on and the Ards backs looked dangerous every time they got the ball, in the 20th minute No8 Thompson barged over following good work by Matt Warnock in chasing up a kick to the corner and regaining the ball, which he off loaded to supporting flanker Hunter. Hunter was tackled short off the Ballymena line but Thompson is hard to stop from that range and barged over in the corner, Nutt was just wide with the conversion. Ards 10 v Ballymena 0
Ballymena responded well and upped their game, but the Ards defence was well organised with forwards Danny McCullough, Oren Kisby and Matt Patton strong around the fringes.
In the 38th Ballymena were awarded a penalty on the Ards 5mtr line, Ballymena took this quickly, the first up Ards defence was good but Ballymena quickly recycled the ball and a Ballymena player crashed over, the try was well converted.
Half-time: Ards 10 v Ballymena 7
Buoyed by their score at the end of the first half, Ballymena attacked from the Ards kick off, taking play deep into the Ards 22.
Good scramble defence by scrum half Adam Carroll and Mike Taylor held Ballymena up on the Ards line, unfortunately Carroll was injured in the process and was replaced by Hughes.
In the 52nd minute Ballymena were awarded an attacking 5mtr lineout, Ards flanker Hunter rose highest and stole the lineout but Ards failed to secure the ball and a Ballymena player seized on the loose ball and scored out wide, the conversion was missed. Ards 10 v Ballymena 12
The experienced Gary Presho gathered the players behind the posts and demanded a response from them. The Ards forwards responded well with Ben Orr, Ashley Peden and Kisby carrying well, the Ards backs started to go forward again with Mike Taylor hitting the line well.
The Ards pressure saw Ballymena concede penalties and in the 59th minute Ards kicked a penalty deep into the Ballymena 22, the resulting lineout saw Ards catch and drive and hooked McCullough crashed over, the conversion was missed. Ards 15 v Ballymena 12
The resulting kick off by Ballymna saw Nutt clear the ball deep into the Ballymena half, a great chase by Matt Warnock saw him get man and ball, he then off loaded to his supporting brother Adam who split the Ballymena defence and ran through to score, Adam failed to convert his score. Ards 20 v Ballymena 12.
Not to be outdone Ballymena scored an unconverted try in the 65th minute, recycling the ball from their own attacking scrum and their flanker scoring out wide. Ards 20 v Ballymena 17
Final score: Ards 20 v Ballymena 17