Ards U16s lose to Malone
By STEPHEN NUTT
A tale of two halves
Ards Rugby Youth U16 & U14 squads travelled to Malone last Saturday for their second matches of the new season.
Last minute withdrawals saw Ards U16s squad to 15 players and no subs; this 15 included some new recruits getting their first taste of competitive rugby and for others it was their first match of the season.
Ards got off to a relatively good start in the opening ten minutes, however with players playing out of position due to the aforementioned withdrawals, Malone gained the upper hand and went over for the first of five first half tries. In the closing minutes of the half Ards were reduced to 14 players after outhalf Chris Harris took a knock to the head and was removed from the field of play.
Half time: Malone 33 v Ards 0
Early in the second half Ards lost were reduced to 13 players after scrum half Ryan Harris picked up a hamstring injury. Following a reshuffle of positions Captain Callum O’Hanlon moved to outhalf and Vice-captain James McDowell went to flanker. Leading by example O’Hanlon seized on a loose ball and took play deep into the Malone half; his team-mates responded and Ards were camp out in the Malone half for the next 20 minutes.
The Malone defence held strong and after a succession of penalties inside their red zone and a yellow being shown to a Malone player, Ards outside centre Ollie McKee was unlucky not to score being held up over the line.
Ards continued to run at Malone with new recruit Jon Fisher showing his skills and was himself unfortunate not to have scored.
With only a few minutes left, Malone managed to win possession in a ruck and kicked over into space. Ards managed to get back and secure the ball but hooker Isaiah Maghie was tackled hard and suffered a knock to the head. The game was stopped and ended 33-0 to Malone.
To the relief of all, Isaiah sustained only muscle damage and concussion. We look forward to welcoming him back in a few week’s time along with his fellow teammates who suffered injuries.
A league reshuffle sees Ards Youth travel to Newry in the Coast league this week.