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Portadown proud as twin victories put them on top

By RONNIE INGRAM

Portadown teams top both Junior Four and Junior Six thanks to two victories and some other results going their way.

The III's moved to jointly head Four after they overcame Ards III 15-3 while their main rivals for the title Academy II and Coleraine III both lost.

The IV's had an easy 44-3 victory against Dromore II and have opened up a four-point gap, although Ballymena V have three games in hand.

Ards were hoping to record their sixth successive victory, but it was not to be.

They fielded a weakened team, but defended stoutly until Portadown ran in their first try after nine minutes. The forwards took the ball down the left and prop Rab McLean linked with Mark Parker who set off for the corner.

When he was tackled he managed to pass the ball around the back of a defender for McLean to touch down and Ross Whitfield added the points.

Ards came back with constructive play from stalwart Gareth Paden and scrum-half Stuart Campbell, who directed operations with his usual vigour on an extended Christmas visit home. Portadown flanker Peter Kielty put in a number of crunching tackles.

The closest Ards had came to scoring was a missed penalty, but they took the game to Portadown after the restart. They had some attacking carries, especially from new father David Chivers and Chris Webster and were rewarded with a Stephen Robinson penalty.

The game developed into a scrappy affair in the muddy conditions with a number of silly mistakes and too many interruptions due to penalties.

Ards full-back Joel Adam was kicking accurately and defended well, but dislocated a finger in the process.

The home side looked frustrated by some of the refereeing decisions towards the close, but Portadown sealed the issue when Whitfield neatly dropped a goal after a penalty advantage.

"We mounted three big attacks at the Ards line in the second half, but they managed to hold us out," said Portadown No. 8 Mark Parker.

"We then had a rolling maul a few metres out and scrum-half Davy Graham took advantage of a gap and leapt through the middle for the second score.

"Ards came back at us and took play into our territory, but there was no reward, mainly due to some brilliant tackling by Peter Kielty"

Portadown III share the lead in Junior Four on 14 points with Academy II, who lost 27-7 at Armagh III, but have a game to play. Coleraine, despite losing 35-17 at Grosvenor 35-17 are close behind on 11, with a game in hand over Portadown.

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