Randalstown opened up their league challenge with a bonus point win against Ards at Neillsbrook Park on Saturday afternoon. However, the visitors will be wondering how they didn’t get more out of the game.
It was an ideal afternoon for an open game and both sides obliged. Randalstown set the tome with an early score from prop Scott Stevenson following a regulation lineout catch and drive.
Callum Hull extends Randalstown’s lead in the first half.
Ards looked for a response and enjoyed a good period of possession but the Randalstown defence held firm and on the half hour mark they broke out for Callum Hull to blast over after a series of darts at the line from close in. Owen Letters added the conversion to give Randalstown a 12 – 0 lead.
Ards pulled on back before the break with Matthew Gibson crossing out wide for an unconverted try, taking the score to 12 – 5 in Randalstown’s favour as the teams changed ends.
A try by Jonny Fullerton, converted by Letters, extended Randalstown’s lead to 19 – 5 shortly after resumption However, Ards upped the gears and laid siege for the next 15 minutes.
Ards must be asking how Randalstown held on to all their players after six or seven defensive penalties inside the home sides 22 went unpunished. On another day one or possibly two defenders could have been taking a 10 minute break. To add insult to injury Ard’s period of dominance ended with a break out try by Letters, who converted his own score, and minutes later Peter Cullen ran through a frustrated Ards side for an unconverted try out wide.
Jacob Kavanagh heads for the line for a late score for Ards
With the score now at 31 – 5 with just over 10 minutes remaining it looked all over for the visitors. However they roused themselves for two late tries with the hard working Ross Torney crossing before Jacob Kavanagh finished off an impressive break down the left.
Final score: Randalstown 31 Ards 15
Randalstown deserved the win but Ards can have a justified grumble that they didn’t return home with more out of a game in which they were very competitive.
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