3rd XV lose hard league opener at Ards 2nd XV.

Following last season’s successful league campaign which resulted in a promotion, the 3rd XV, now find themselves playing in a very competitive, Provincial league division 4. Provincial 4 is a league which consists primarily of club 2nd XV’s. This is a big step up for the 3’s who are going through a transitional period, with a number of last year’s squad deservedly getting an opportunity to play for the senior teams within the club, and with some influential players having to reprioritise their rugby playing commitments or having retired from playing.

Saturday’s game against Ards 2nd XV was the 3rd XV’s first outing of the season, and it proved to be a tough opener.

Playing in perfect conditions the first five minutes were evenly matched. The first breakthrough came when Instonians won good second phase ball in a midfield position, the ball was moved through the backs to Robbie Kirk who danced through the Ards midfield defence to set up several phases of play. Robbie was again on hand to finish off the move with a score in the left hand corner, which was converted by James Poland, 0-7.

The remainder of the first half was disappointing on a number of fronts, on too many occasions’ poor tackling and basic errors led to Ards scoring a number of breakaway trys. The team also lost influential players Robbie Kirk to a fractured arm, and Charlie Fryers to a ruptured finger ligament within the first 20 minutes, this led to some reshuffling in both the backs and the forwards.

Half time couldn’t come quick enough, and gave the team a chance to regroup and focus on the second half.

The performance between the first and the second half was like night and day, with the team rising to the challenge, showing great character by tightening up on defence and by taking the game to Ards, both in the backs and the forwards, with some great rugby being played. Ards did score a couple of late trys in the closing minutes of the game as the Instonians team tired.

Although 51-7 would appear to be a convincing defeat, there are positives to be taken from Saturdays match. The team showed great spirit in their second half performance and showed that they are more than capable of putting in a performance. Saturday also showed what is required from players in order for us to be able to compete in this league.

On the injury front, the squad wish Robbie and Charlie speedy recoveries, and we hope to have you back playing for us in the near future.

Finally Ards were deserved winners on Saturday and showed in the first half that they are a very capable side.

Thank you to the referee. Fixtures this early in the season can be scrappy affairs, however the referee on Saturday managed to control the game and allow it to flow, which apart from the result, made for an enjoyable match.

Team 1 to 18: Chris Duggan, Andy Davis, Richard Fannin, Matthew Bradley, Matthew Howarth, Malik Hassan, Charlie Fryers, James Poland, Scott Croft, Ashley Black, Johan Markarian, Ben Chalmers, Robbie Kirk, Reuben Clarke, Sam Fryers, Josh Morrow, Tony Shek, Kevin McKee