Match report: Ards 2nds v Queens
By STEPHEN NUTT
2nds defeat league winners under the lights at Hamilton Park.
Ards played host to the rearranged fixture with table toppers Queens at Hamilton Park on Tuesday. Queens had comprehensively defeated Ards by 40 points to 5 at the Dub in the early part of the season and have gone on to be crowned worthy League Champions, with only one defeat to show for their superior prowess throughout the season, congratulations and well done to them.
Ards got off to a very nervy start as Queens held onto the ball in the early exchanges, threatening a repeat of their early performance.
Fifteen minutes into the game and after sustained pressure from the Ards forwards, Adam Carroll at pivot, saw a gap and beat the defence before dotting down for the opening unconverted try of the evening. Ards started to go through the gears and it wasn't long before Carroll landed a well struck penalty to ease the hosts more into the game. Not to be outdone, Danny Patton at 8, playing only his second game after a long layoff through injury, barged his was way over for Ards second try converted by Carroll.
This was more like the 2's style of play when Paul Cox playing 10, joined the party with another worthy try for Carroll to add the extras leaving a very flattering 22 - 0 scoreline to the hosts at halftime.
Queens had been threatening down the flanks with some searing pace, but this was well marshalled by Ards back three of Jack Smith, Chris Bridge and Adam Coulter, whose strong defence kept the visitors at bay.
In the second half, veteran evergreen Gary Presho, then found himself in a great position from a driving maul and crashed over for Ards fourth try of the night converted by Carroll.
Queens eventually responded as they know how with a well worked interplay try down the right flank. This went unconverted and still 20 minutes remained on the clock in this very entertaining, free flowing game.
After the restart, Ards gathered and surged back up the park with some strong carries by the forwards rounded off with a superb second try by that man Presho again. Carroll duly bisected the sticks with a sweetly struct conversion.
With the clock seemingly stuck on 60 minutes, Jack Smith showed true power and pace after crisp hands along the back-line to score Ards 6th try landed again by Carroll to leave the final score 43 - 5 to Ards. A complete reversal of the scoreline in the earlier game at the start of the season.
This was a high tempo pulsating game and credit to both teams for entertaining the sizeable crowd with some excellent open running rugby from start to finish. Special mention to Davy Chivers for leading the team to a memorable victory and Phil Shields for bouncing his way up the park like a pinball wizard, unbelievable stuff.
The touchline jury returned a split decision verdict for Man of the match this week so it was shared between Gary Presho and Adam Carroll. Each received a bottle of the soft stuff to help keep them hydrated after a long exhausting game.
Thanks are extended to Queens for a great game, the match day official and the ever present touchline jury, not forgetting our 'stew' man, thank you all, very much appreciated.
Next up for Ards is another rearranged fixture v Ballyclare at Ards next Wednesday evening, 7.30 KO. Please make yourselves available for our last home and penultimate game of the season