Strong performance by Ards 2nds
By STEPHEN NUTT
The 'Bell' sounds for Larne!
Ards 2nds welcomed their Co Antrim opponents Larne, to Hamilton Park in the League on Saturday. Ards’ ranks were bolstered by the welcome return from injury of Taylor Nutt in midfield and Matthew Bell at no8.
With the warm up and stud check complete, the game was soon underway with David Chivers men attacking the Scrabo Tower end of the pitch.
After 3 minutes and Captain Chivers was the first over the whitewash for the opening try for Alex Gaw to bag the extras. Ards 7 v Larne 0
Ards took great heart from this very positive start and began moving the ball around well before Matthew Bell barged his way over the line for a second try for the hosts. Ards 12 v Larne 0
Two minutes later, centre Andrew Savage got in on the act with a well worked move in the backs, Gaw added the conversion. Ards 19 v Larne 0
Larne were rattled by the home side’s start and got more into the game with some good phases of play but were held up by some resolute defence by their opponents.
Ards, now with the bit between their teeth, were soon on the score sheet again with Bell’s second try of the day, converted by Gaw. Ards 26 v Larne 0
As the minutes ticked down to the end of the half, Bell decided to hasten the halftime interval and went on a mazy run from just inside his own half, bouncing off half a dozen defenders to score an exceptional third try and secure his hat-trick which the trusty boot of Gaw duly converted to leave the score 33 – 0 in favour of Ards at the break.
This was a very good first half from the home side, with another mouth-watering half still to come. Scrum and lineout were functioning well with Andy Rigby taking nice clean ball in the air. The backs were running well with the ball in hand and moving it wide when the opportunities presented themselves to attack down the flanks.
With the second half underway, Ards appeared to have a job done mindset which Larne latched onto and quickly scored a decent unconverted try. Ards 33 v Larne 5
Ards regrouped and although having the lion’s share of territory and possession, struggled to do much about it. Some wayward passing coupled with frustration and some ill discipline at the breakdown cost them, as they tried hard to gather themselves from where they’d left off in the first half.
It was a full 30 minutes into the second half before Ards recorded their sixth try. Adam Coulter was working hard getting into the game making some good breaks at fullback with one of these rewarded with an excellent try, the difficult conversion was missed. Ards 38 v Larne 5
The final act before the fulltime whistle was left for outhalf Gaw, he took the ball just inside the Larne half and danced his way through the Larne defence to score another well worked try which he also converted. This rounded off a very pleasing 7 try haul for the men in black and a final score showing Ards 45 and Larne 5.
The first half was by far the best, but the team never gave up trying to improve their overall performance in the second too.
Ards Man of the Match went to Matthew Bell for his battling performance topped off with a handsome hat-trick of tries. Matthew received 2 tickets for Movieland Cinema in Ards.
Thanks are extended to Larne for a very enjoyable game, the match day official and the touchline jury. Special thanks to Ards Youth section who helped out on the day and mini rugby player Sean O’Hanlon who did a first class job running the line.