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Ards endure a steep learning curve after Inst test

By Ronnie Ingram

Ards' thirds were promoted to Junior 4 but found Instonians' thirds much too difficult to handle at Shaw's Bridge on Saturday, going down 46-7

Admittedly there were only four of that successful side in action and then others were lost through injury although Inst were also handicapped when Jack Hewlett sustained a broken leg in the first few minutes.

The Inst side is a mixture of youth and experience with players like Chris Duggan and David Donaldson back from University while No 8 Gerry O'Leary is now playing his thirty-ninth season.

Their new out-half Darragh Hobbs who previously played hurling at Galway University is a real find.

He had a great game in the ideal conditions with well controlled play and good intelligent kicking.

Young winger Johnny Cochrane has undoubted potential which he proved with three well taken tries. He crossed for the first two before the other winger Ashley Black sprinted in.

Hooker Chris Down then crashed over for the fourth try, two of which were converted by Hobbs to give the home team a comfortable 24-0 interval advantage.

Ards suffered more injuries and found it difficult to get really into the game although they fought back bravely against the odds.

Inst pressed ahead and the pressure led to four more tries. Cochrane added his third before prop Chris Duggan crossed for the sixth.

Former first's second row Brian Wallace powered over for the next before Cameron Williams scored the best try of the afternoon.

The scrum-half broke from his own half and ran through a couple of tackles to go in for a converted try to make it 46-0.

Undeterred, Ards kept to their task and even though injuries had reduced them to eleven towards the end they continue taking the game to their superior opponents.

They were justly rewarded when out-half Bale converted his own try. Ian Dickie, the Inst team Manager and President of the club last season enjoyed the entertaining game and he believed it was a very encouraging start to the season.

Dickie said: "There was plenty of open play and I was given a lot of encouragement by our efforts.

"I can't complain about the performance as we won although I thought we did concede too many penalties and that is one aspect that will need to be given attention."

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